The Dot and the Line


The Dot represents this life. The Line represents eternity. Which are you living for? If you live only for the dot that’s it. If you live for the line you have both the dot and the line.

One of the ways you demonstrate where your heart is and what you are living for is how you relate to treasure. Concerning earthly treasure, Jesus said: You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead. Recently I read a little book by Randy Alcorn, “The Treasure Principle,” which makes this point clearly. Jesus said:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19-20)

Why did Jesus say not to store up treasures on earth? Because they are bad? NO. Because they won’t last! They will eventually be worthless or someone else’s—worthless because they wear out (moth or rust destroy); or someone else gets them, if not thieves, than whoever divvies up your stuff when you die.

“Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.” (Proverbs 23:5)

It’s not a matter of if we will lose our earthly treasures, only when (whether it happens while we live or after we die). It always happens, no exceptions.

Imagine you’re alive at the end of the Civil War. You’re living in the South but you are a Northerner. You plan to move home as soon as the war is over. While in the South you’ve accumulated lots of Confederate currency. Now suppose you know for a fact that the North is going to win the war and end is imminent. What will you do with your Confederate money?

If you’re smart, there’s only one answer. You should immediately cash in your Confederate currency for U.S. currency—the only money that will have value once the war is over. Keep only enough Confederate currency to meet your short-term needs.

It is like that for Christ-followers. We have some “inside-trading tips.” We know that when Jesus returns someday, suddenly, unexpectedly, earth’s currency will be worthless. The same thing happens for you the moment you die. Either event could happen at any time without warning. Jesus assured us that there is a way to transfer our treasure from earth to heaven. You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead!

Think of your money as “Confederate money.” There is nothing wrong with Confederate money as long as you realize its limits. Recognizing that its value is temporary radically alters your investment strategy. If you are busy trying to collect as much money and stuff as you can, it is the same as stockpiling a stack of Confederate money while knowing full well that it will soon become worthless. That’s just plain stupid!

Jesus is not against storing up treasure. But he encourages us to be sure and store it up in the right place. Neither is he opposed to us thinking about our own best interests. He says “Store up for yourself.” It’s not selfish to think about what is for your best interest. Jesus says, I’m trying to help you out. This for your best interest that you send some of your treasure on ahead.

This mentality requires a willingness for delayed gratification. Financial planners tell us, “Don’t think 3 or 4 months or 3 or 4 years ahead… but think 30-40 years ahead.” Good investments require planning for the future. But Jesus is taking this advice further. He’s saying, “Don’t think about how your investments will be paying you in 30-40 years, but think about 30 or 40 trillion years from now!”

Anything we try and hang on to here we will lose. Anything we put in God’s will be ours for eternity. Martin Luther said: “I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.”

It’s a no-brainer when you stop to really think about it that we would transfer some Confederate money before it loses its value. You can’t take it with you. You never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer.

“Do not be overawed when others grow rich, when the splendor of their houses increases; for they will take nothing with them when they die, their splendor will not descend with them.” (Psalm 49:16-17)

It is normal to be in awe of someone who is successful and has a lot of stuff. But don’t be “overawed” and forget that “they will take nothing with them when they die.” Jim Elliot, who was later martyred by the natives he was seeking to reach for Christ, wisely stated: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

2 Responses to “The Dot and the Line”

  • Matt Garrett Says:

    Good post, Clay. Myself included, no one I know really lives this out. It totally runs contrary to human nature and is WAY to “faith-based”…can’t have that! To be sure, there are some who come close, maybe that’s a good start. There are very few willing to leave their, “Land of Ur”. Is it more evil to have a country like Ukraine, the culture so obviously in Satan’s grips, or ours, where it is so subtle, it’s even more dangerous?

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