Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)
Read: Matthew 6:19-34
Consider: The words ‘treasure’ or ‘treasures’ are mentioned only sixty times in the Bible – 45 times in the Old Testament (OT) and 15 times in the New Testament (NT). Most of the references to treasure in the OT refer specifically to worldly wealth (eg money or possessions), although wisdom is also described as treasure in Proverbs.
In the NT treasure is seen differently and described more in spiritual terms. Matthew’s and Luke’s gospels contains the words of Jesus to his disciples about laying up treasure in heaven. Treasure in heaven is also mentioned in Matthew, Mark and Luke in regard to the rich man and Jesus’ advice to him. It was this advice that made the rich man go away sad. The obvious conclusion is that the man valued his wealth more than following Jesus.
The problem for us is knowing what is means to us today to lay up treasure in heaven. It also means facing up to what we might place in prime importance in our life, over following Jesus. This might be career, wealth, possessions, status or a host of other things that we allow to get between us and God.
The problem with seeking to lay up treasure on earth is as Jesus says in Matthew 6, so many things can happen in life that wealth cannot be depended upon. It is obvious from the lives of the wealthy that appear in the media that their wealth does not bring them either satisfaction or happiness in life. This is highlighted in Luke 12:13-21 where Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool. This is a story of a man who puts his trust in what he has accumulated, to the point that he decides to take things easy and enjoy his wealth. Jesus reminds his hearers that no-one can depend upon life and the man would die that very night.
This might seem a very negative point to end this post on, but sometimes it is necessary for each of us to reevaluate our lives and to get things back into perspective. If you are working so hard at your career that you are neglecting your spiritual welfare, or that of your family, you are taking a great risk. If you spend all your time and energy on what is transient and destined to pass away, then you should take heed of Jesus’ words to his disciples, the rich man and what he said in the parable of the rich fool.
The warning is clear:
This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich towards God (Luke 12:21).
Pray: Father, help us to look at our lives and to weigh up what we are putting our time and energy into. May we truly have a desire to lay up treasure in heaven. Amen