Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)
Gerald Ratner was the chief executive of a British Jewellery company which was worth millions. With a few careless words about his product, the stock price of his company lost £500 million overnight. His earthly treasure was gone. Chris and Denise were living the life of luxury. They owned a thriving property development business worth £35 million. They had a mansion, cars, horses, expensive holidays, everything that most of us can only dream of. When the bank where all their money was held went into receivership, all their money was gone. They now live in a flat and receive the basic Jobseekers allowance. Their earthly treasure is gone!
Money is a huge God in this society and we can easily get lured by its promise of comfort and security. It causes us to dream about all the things we can buy, the holidays we can go on and the comfort we can enjoy. But we all know, in theory anyway, that money doesn’t buy us happiness.
In this passage Jesus is directing us to where our focus should be, because we can get very easily distracted.
I don’t believe that Jesus is saying we shouldn’t ever have savings, or plan for the future, but He is challenging us to look at and consider where our trust is focussed.
The key word of this passage is ‘treasure’ or in other words the things that motivate or control us. The treasures of this world are mostly materialistic, the ‘things’ we set our gaze on. They are temporal and actually quite empty. They are the Christmas presents lusted after for months that after sometimes only a few days are left gathering dust in the corner of the cupboard. They promise much, but in the end are empty. Have you ever saved up or waited for something to discover that it never quite promised the happiness it was meant to bring.
We are not meant for this world, we are just passing through. Why are we so keen to put down roots that we know won’t last? It is so easy to be taken in by this world’s allure. We live here and work here and get caught up in the moment, but that moment passes oh so fast.
Our treasure is and should be in heaven. It’s not material but spiritual. It’s an eternity spent with our father in peace, wholeness and security. It’s true joy. The wonderful gift that God has given us and the very reason we are on this earth is so that we can work towards that time. Everything we do now can have an impact into eternity. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t talking about what I am now, but I love the quote from Maximus in the film ‘Gladiator’ when he said “What we do in life, echoes in eternity” so true.
Our treasure in heaven is shown when we: build the church, when we feed the poor, when we do good works, when we tell people about Jesus, when we forgive, turn the other cheek, when we seek peace and when we love and serve like Jesus did.
Let me challenge you this week to find ways to pay into your heavenly bank account and as you focus on these treasures, the world’s grip will get a little looser.