What Are Heavenly Treasures?

heavenly_palace

We know there are heavenly treasures, because Jesus says so, but what are they?

Some say God is going to dispense treasure, mansions, and even cities to those who have proven faithful. “There had better be some reward for my hard work—a gold star at least—otherwise why I am working?”

Others say there are no rewards at all. “Everything comes to us by grace alone, so there can be no rewards for effort.”

I have problems with both views. My problem with the God-of-the-gold-stars is that he promotes a servant mentality when we are sons. And my problem with the idea that there are no heavenly treasures, is that it contradicts what Jesus said:

Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Matt 6:20, NKJV)

The issue of heavenly treasures or eternal rewards is riddled with question marks. It’s a subject that has been abused by some (“Store up treasure by giving to my ministry”) and left in the too-hard basket by others. Grace-minded folk seem particularly allergic to any talk of earning rewards, and this is understandable. Grace and rewards don’t go together.

Yet Jesus said they did.

Mansions in heaven

“You must be reading this wrong. Don’t you know that in Christ we are heirs of all things? What need have we of rewards?” It’s true that Jesus is our reward, and what greater reward could there be?

No one can please God without faith, for whoever comes to God must have faith that God exists and rewards those who seek him. (Heb 11:6, GNB)

What is the reward of the seeker but to find that which is sought? If you are searching for God you will find him and he will be your very great reward (see Gen 15:1). Whatever the treasures of heaven may be, they are nothing in comparison with Jesus, who is the Reward for those who seek him. This is why those who are slaving for mansions are misguided. When Jesus is your home, what need have you of mansions?

This is not the place where I talk about our inheritance in Christ. All you need to know about that is it’s good! If you are the newest Christian or the eleventh-hour worker, you will be as richly blessed as the oldest, most faithful saint. Eternity will not be divided into the haves and have-nots, for we are all one in Christ.

But we can distinguish Christ our reward from the heavenly treasure that Jesus said can be stored up, and the rewards Paul said are given according to our labor. At the risk of sounding like a grace-killer, let me say all believers have a glorious inheritance in Christ, but some will also receive heavenly treasures. There is a difference. Our inheritance comes to us through grace alone, while heavenly treasures can be worked for and accumulated.

But eternal rewards may not be what you think.

What are heavenly treasures?

What are eternal rewards? What is our heavenly treasure? The answer may surprise you, but it’s people.

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. (Ps 127:3)

This psalm is not just talking about biological children. God has bigger plans for you and they involve spiritual children. Lots of them. Dozens. Hundreds. Thousands. Millions. Don’t limit God.

  • Just as Abraham was called to be the father of many nations, so are you.
  • Jesus said those who followed him would be fishers of men. What is a fisherman’s reward? It’s fish, or people in this case.
  • What is the reward of the one who sows and waters the good seed? It’s a harvest of people.
  • What is treasure that never wears out and cannot be stolen? It’s people.

A Father’s reward

God gave me this revelation years ago at a time when Camilla and I were asking, “Do we want another child?” Having a child is the biggest decision a couple can make. You have to ask, “Is there room in our lives for another person? Can we afford the cost of raising a child?”

Do you know that God is not troubled by these questions? He has plenty of room and can easily afford it.

In my heart I felt my Father say, “I want more kids! I always want more kids!” His heart bursts with love that craves expression. Just as a painter has to paint and a writer has to write, a father has to father. It’s what he does. I’m not sure how many children I am capable of fathering, but God is a far bigger Father than me. He has no limits. His heart cries, “I treasure children. The more, the better!”

In Matthew chapter 5, Jesus introduces God as our heavenly Father. In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus says he is a Father who rewards us. And what is a father’s reward?

It is children.

Storing up heavenly treasure

When Jesus exhorts us to store up treasures in heaven, he is not saying, “Store up me.” How would we do that? He’s saying, “Be fruitful and multiply so that when this moth-eaten, money-grubbing world passes away, you will have treasures in heaven—spiritual children, and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.”

I admit, this was a startling revelation. I grew up in an average-sized family and planned to have an average-sized family of my own. It never occurred to me that God isn’t your average Father with average dreams. His desire is to grow the world’s largest family and he treats people like treasure. This is obvious once you see it. Indeed, it’s a theme that runs through scripture:

For you are a people holy to the Lord your God… his treasured possession. (Deu 7:6)

God chose you out of all the people on Earth as his cherished personal treasure. (Deu 14:2b, MSG)

Today God has reaffirmed that you are dearly held treasure just as he promised… (Deu 26:18, MSG)

You are your Father’s treasure!

Adapted from ch. 20, “What are eternal rewards?” in The Gospel in Twenty Questions.

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32 Comments on What Are Heavenly Treasures?

  1. florry1962 // March 1, 2018 at 12:48 am // Reply

    Thanks Paul for the expository teaching. More grace of God through the Faithful One.

  2. Jesus a son,came to serve.

  3. Amazing Revelation, Thank you Paul.

  4. Interesting idea, but not everyone likes children y’know. Same as not everyone likes soccer.

  5. PATTI-JO ROBERTS // March 1, 2018 at 2:44 am // Reply

    I LOVE this! As a mother of nine natural children, I can say unequivocally that children are a huge blessing. They have enriched my life to overflowing. I can also say unequivocally that God always pays for what He orders. We have never gone hungry, or gone without what we have truly needed. God has always provided. As for spiritual children, YES! I am doing my best to bring as many home with me as possible. There is no greater delight than to see someone come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.

  6. Yes. Yes. Yes!!! I love, love, love it!!! Amen!!!
    Thanks, as usual, Paul! Blessing you and your family…

  7. Our intention and the intention of any church or minister should be to help people get connected to the vine. Abiding in the vine is our source of life. For a new believer, having someone they can go to who has a healthy relationship with Jesus can be very helpful to them, but we should be helping them to develop their own relationship with Him. Hopefully, as their relationship with Jesus grows, they will see and hear what He is teaching them. Sadly, I’ve seen people who have been Christians for many years and they do not know what they believe until they hear what their minister has to say about it. Of course we are always learning, but we should get to a point where Jesus is our first source for direction and wisdom. I’m absolutely not saying anything negative about E2R here, I just felt this is something we should think about as we consider what was shared in this post. Thanks

  8. Yes, you are right brother. The Bible screams relationship and family from Genesis to Revelations! Relationship with God and one another! Our Father wants a big family!

  9. I like it!

  10. This is interestIng, I have felt that the treasure is people, I’m not sure I came up with that on my own or heardnit somewhere. Since I started walking in grace, I have watched the Spirit ‘give’ me people. They aren’t mine, but they are in my life so I can speak into their lives about what God has taught me. I try to pay attention. When I’m walking with Jesus I do better at paying attention and have more courage to speak. Thank you for this beautiful writing. 😊

  11. Today I was walking around the house feeling disconnected, like I wasn’t hearing from God today. Then I heard in my spirit, “people are the treasure.” So I walked around pondering how only souls are eternal. The verses coming to mind were same as some in Paul’s article! Also, of Jesus being grieved that people valued the Sabbath over the man with the withered hand. Man for whom the sabbath had been created, not man created for the sabbath. [The initial heart cry was intercession for women in very abusive marriages.] I was asking God, do You value the human being (eternal) or the marriage (temporal) more?
    I am not trying to start an off-topic discussion about marriage. I’m merely grateful that I just came here and got a stunning” second witness” that God values people more. I feel this message today was especially for me. Your post re-iterates everything I was being given to ponder. Thank you, Paul, for hearing, so closely, God’s loving Father heart.

  12. Thank God, and thank you Paul. This cut through all the religious clap-trap rubbish…and so refreshing. God is a Father and He loves all His kids…the more the better.
    I just wrote to someone yesterday and said Jesus came to reveal ‘a Father’.
    Thanks for a beautiful image of a wonderful Father rejoicing over His cherished family of treasured kids. Wow, I love it!

  13. This is so beautiful. Wow.

    I’ve never seen it in this light. As I read the article and supporting scripture it just clicked in my heart. This makes so much sense.

  14. The greatest and most humbling reward of all to me is the gift of spending eternity with the LORD God Almighty, immersed in the light of His love and mercy with all who love and adore Him. No more darkness lurking at the door to defile and destroy. What constant joy and elation await us! Thank you, LORD, for your precious gift of salvation and redemption! And thank you, Paul, for providing perspective on God’s treasures. Isn’t it absolutely amazing to realize that the God of all creation cherishes us above everything He made!! We are truly precious to Him. Thank you, sweet LORD, for loving me and saving me.

  15. Excellent!

  16. Robert Slominski // March 3, 2018 at 3:27 am // Reply

    Hello Paul and all who are reading E2R, I used to really worry about how many I’ve tried to talk to about believing and pressure from others if they truly believed. As a believer that had to stop..I was miserable. I heard from others.. “ I brought this many to Jesus or I talked to so and so and I’m not sure they believed “ etc.. I trust in the Lord as to who I’ve talked to or will talk to.. it’s silly for me to worry and let the enemy place pressure on me with “ I wonder if they truly believe” or “ I need to talk to more, more , more.. We are of 1 body.. His body. We all have different functions.. I know with all my heart.. I have the largest family ever.. thank you Jesus!!
    Thank you Paul for such a good article..

  17. I had a dream where I went to heaven, I won’t go into details(only have 250 words) but one of the biggest parts I remember was where I was. There was a group, as we walked we were assigned places, all I could think is I want to be closer to Jesus. That is probably my main driver.

    I typically took that “store up treasures” to keep my eye on the prize and not the distractions of the world. But he wouldn’t say that unless there are treasures. Remember the disciples mothers arguing on who would sit at Jesus right-hand. There will be a heirarchy. Those who are closer, more important, those who aren’t. God is a god of action and there will be much more going on after this Earth has gone through tribulation. To think otherwise invites laziness.

  18. Sorry Paul, but I have some issues, two of which are:
    1. This seems “bait-and-switch”: the concern was about people getting a reward, it got transmuted to treasure, and ends up talking about God getting treasure. They’re two different words in the Greek, and “reward” was used a lot more in Matthew 5 and 6 than “treasure”.
    2. Speaking of which, why “go back” to Psalms top explain what Jesus said about “rewards” and “treasure”, instead of staying within the New Testament and the immediate context of Jesus’ words? One tactic of legalists is to cite Jesus’ words “If you Love me, Keep my commandments,” then “go back” to Exodus to assert that he was referring to the Ten Commandments, ignoring that several verses later in John, Jesus said “This is my commandment, that you love one another.” The “treasure in heaven” phrase was used later by Jsus in Matthew 19, and is cited in Mark 10 and Luke 12, and explicitly refers to giving to the poor. And earlier in Matthew 6, and in Matthew 5, Jesus talks about God rewarding you for various actions, including giving alms to the poor.

    Points 3 through 7 omitted due to lack of space.

    I have no doubt that people are God’s treasure, but if we’re going to worry about what Jesus said about rewards and treasure, we ought to worry about EVERYTHING Jesus said about rewards and treasure.

    • What do you think rewards/treasure are?

      • Given 1 Cor. 2:9-10, I wouldn’t know what my treasure is unless it was revealed to me by the Spirit, but since I am a profound believer that symmetry starts in the Spirit and pervades the physical, I’d say that our treasure *includes* the Holy Spirit, in the same way that God’s treasure is people (us). (I don’t dispute that people are God’s treasure: my comment was that your post didn’t answer the initial question of what was OUR treasure.)

  19. Michael Owusu // March 5, 2018 at 1:45 pm // Reply

    Hello Paul. What is the criteria for having spiritual children? Is it preaching and teaching the gospel only?

  20. I believe we are seed planters, the Holy Spirit fertiliser, I have seen the results of seed planting many times through life, you think they were not interested in what you said, then one day, or many days, months, years, later you bump into them and they tell you they are saved, that you started them thinking and searching.
    We don’t have to be preachers, teachers, or have credentials for Pastoring, we are all in Him and He in us, we have all we need through His gracious presence living in us.❤️
    I have been a Christian for 40yrs this year, not all sweet sailing, lots of wrong teaching along the way the first 20yrs. I am home sweet home these days through teachers like Paul Ellis and Andrew Farley my favourite.

  21. Cliff Hill // March 10, 2018 at 3:27 am // Reply

    Spent a large portion of my life living in Mormon land, it seem kinda like what they believed.

  22. Emmanuel Stella // March 10, 2018 at 4:42 am // Reply

    woah! thanks for this powerful revelation.

  23. Cliff Hill // March 11, 2018 at 2:57 pm // Reply

    Never one time is the word rewards used in the New Testament, the singular word Reward, yes it is mentioned, and that reward is Jesus, anything else would be as garbage compared to Him.

  24. Thanks paul,am so liberated by this revelation,God bless you and your family,.help me on how to get your books here in kenya for i can’t find any,,help pls,,thank you.

  25. Ron Carlson // April 21, 2018 at 12:40 am // Reply

    In the passage about laying up treasure in heaven, Jesus instructed his disciples in the difference between momentary and eternal treasure. He spoke of things we use to define ourselves, destined to perish with the world. A godly heritage, whether natural or spiritual as an elder and mentor to others is an effect of having an identity in an abiding relationship with Christ. All of our sufficiency before the Father resides in him. It’s there, we enter the good deeds of the Father, partnering with Jesus, laying up treasure in heaven.

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