God’s Not Dead is a great movie for many reasons, but I want to focus on the characters who stored up treasures in this world whom the world rebuked and who were forced to look closer at themselves.
One of those characters is Amy. She’s a reporter and an animal rights activist, and she has a romantic relationship with a business executive. She’s so deeply involved in her work that she has no close friends and, as it turns out, she doesn’t know the man she thinks she loves. When she learns she has terminal cancer, she realizes she will lose everything that matters to her.
The other character is Jeffrey. He’s a philosophy professor who takes pride in his intellect and his social standing among the tenured elite. He dismisses his girlfriend publicly because he prioritizes tending to his image over taking care of her. She duly dumps him.
Jeffrey also harbors anger and guilt over his mother’s death when he was just a boy. That loss he uses to rationalize evangelizing against God through his position as a professor. A Christian student bests him in front of class, exposing the intellectual window dressing on his emotional rejection of God. His self-worth in tatters, Jeffrey reasseses what matters to him.
Amy and Jeffrey try to get as much return as they can from what matters to them. For Amy, it’s work for her cause. For Jeffrey, it’s image and intellectual dominance. They can’t sustain themselves on these perishables alone, much less when what are seemingly the accidents of life spoiling them.
I say “seemingly” because these accidents only appear as accidents. They occur by design. They point to the divine Creator as the only constant. Just as I can’t repurpose a pencil to make a cup of coffee, I can’t repurpose Creation for my personal sense of salvation. It just doesn’t work.
With their accounts emptied of the things they think matter, Amy and Jeffrey reckon maybe they’ve been investing in the wrong things all along:
“‘I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
What does it mean to be rich towards God? Real human worth, as shown in Jesus’ distillation of the law into two simple commands, is in giving, not receiving. It means to hand over your salvation to Jesus and to hand over your will to God. It means to serve God by acting as His agent in loving others.
By doing that, you store up for yourself non-perishables in heaven. Giving gives the greatest return on your investment.