Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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You Can’t Take it With You

ImageDid you hear the one about the rich old man who told his wife before dying that he wanted all of his money buried with him? At his funeral, just before the casket was closed she put a metal box in the casket with him. “Surely you didn’t put all the money in there?”, asked her friend. “Well, he did request it”, she said. “I got all the money together and put it in my checking account. I wrote him a check and put it in the box. If he can cash it, he can have it!”

It seems that many live their lives in such a way as to suggest the believe they can, in fact, take their money with them when they die! Such thinking is foolish! Remember the foolish rich man of Luke 12? He spent his time and focus in getting ahead in life. After he had accomplished his purpose, he sat back and said, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink and be merry” (vs. 19). God’s answer to him was, “Fool!, This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?” (vs. 20).

The purpose of Jesus’ teaching was to show the foolishness of a life spent in gaining material things, to the neglect of a spiritual inheritance. Note his conclusion, “So is he who lays treasure up for himself, and is not rich toward God” (vs. 21).

The conclusion is simple. Since you can’t take your material wealth with you beyond the grave, you need to determine what will survive the grave, as that is what has eternal value.

So, what things will we take with us beyond the grave?

Our Identity

One lesson gained from the account of Lazarus and the ungodly rich man (in Luke 16) is that your identity remains beyond the grave.

The significance of this is that in judgment, each one will be recognized. Consider the righteous mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 25. In the day of judgment, it will be said to them, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (vs. 34). They would be blessed with this reward because they had been identified as those who, “…gave me food… gave me drink… took me in… clothed me… visited me… came to me” (vs. 35-36). This establishes the second thing we will take with us beyond the grave…

The Results of Our Conduct While On Earth

Revelation 14:13 states, “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.’” Our works will follow us into eternity. Further, we will be judged by them. “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books” (Revelation 20:12).

Only the soul of man is eternal. All that we enjoy on this earth will one day be burned up. As we have revealed, our death separates us from those material things. Hence, our time here on earth should be spent with our soul as the primary focus. “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

Ultimately, how we live our lives here on earth affects our eternal standing with God. “For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:8-10).

You can’t take it with you, so why spend your life trying (above all things) to get it? Instead, sow to the spirit, that you may gain the eternal reward in heaven. This is a life well lived.