“Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.” (Luke 12:33)
The Lord Jesus frequently warned us against trying to accumulate wealth here on Earth. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,” He said. Rather, “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-20). In our text above, He even says to sell what we have and give it away. To the rich young ruler, He said: “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven” (Matthew 19:21).
God’s Word cannot contradict itself, however, so this teaching must also be balanced against a man’s responsibility to “provide…for his own, and specially for those of his own house” (1 Timothy 5:8). Similarly, “the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children” (2 Corinthians 12:14).
We are also encouraged to “give to him that needeth” (Ephesians 4:28) and to sow “bountifully” as “a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). Such instructions imply that by faithful labor in the vocations God has given us, we shall have the wherewithal to do such things. Ananias and Sapphira were punished not for retaining part of their possessions for their own needs, but rather because they lied about it (Acts 5:1-10). Our giving should be done “with simplicity”—that is, with “singleness” of heart (Romans 12:8).
All we have is of the Lord and should be used in ways that honor Him, in accord with His Word and His providential leading. We should provide judiciously for the needs of those dependent on us, but our own personal needs and wants should be kept minimal so that more can be used in His service and to meet the needs of others. HMM