What can you take to heaven with you?

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.— 1 Timothy 6:6-7

Peter Kreeft tells us that in the Latin rite for the burial of an Austrian emperor, the people carry the corpse to the door of the great monastic church. They strike the door and say: “Open.” The abbot inside says, “Who is there?” “Emperor Karl, the king of the Austrian Empire.” The response from inside: “We know of no such person here.”

So the people strike the door again. “Who is there?” asks the abbot. “Emperor Karl.” “We know of no such person here.” So they strike a third time. “Who is there?” asks the abbot again. “Karl,” say the people. And the door is opened.

When it comes to death, all ground is level on the precipice of eternity. There is no preferential treatment for anyone. Kings are treated the same as peasants. Masters are treated the same as slaves. The rich elite and the homeless alike are given the exact same treatment. Nothing material we have in this life will follow us to the next.

So what does carry over? Nothing but Christ and what we’ve done for Him. Our possessions can’t follow us to Christ, but they can precede us there if we steward them well. So instead of seeking your treasure on the earth, store it in heaven (Matthew 6:20), the only place you’ll receive an eternal reward!

Prayer Challenge

Ask God to show you how to steward the resources He’s given you for His glory.

Questions for thought

In what ways have you struggled in the past with accumulating more ‘stuff’? Why do you think it’s such a struggle?

How does the fact that we can’t take anything with us to heaven actually liberate us from the pursuit of worldly things?