Matthew 6:19-24 ESV
“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.”
What is a treasure? According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, a treasure is “something that is very special, important, or valuable” or “a person who is greatly loved or valued.” A treasure can also have to do with money or possessions, especially that which is hoarded or “hidden or kept in a safe place.”
A treasure may also be something special or valuable that is held on to and kept hidden, with an unwillingness to relinquish it, such as a sinful habit or an immoral or unholy relationship with someone. Or, it can be hate, unforgiveness, or bitterness, too. Or, it can be maintaining control over our own lives. Thus, it can be any kind of idol in our lives which denies Christ’s Lordship over our lives.
And, what does it mean to lay them up? It means to accumulate a large supply of them either for present or future use. It has to do with holding on to these things which have no eternal value and which are destined to perish. And the context suggests holding them close to our hearts, suggesting that they have our loyalty, devotion, passion and time, too.
But, this is not what we are to be investing our lives, hearts, passion and desires in. Instead, we should be spending our resources, time, energies and heart on what has eternal value, such as loving others with Christ’s love and ministering his grace and his gospel to their lives, too.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
Have you ever heard the saying, “The eye is the window into the soul”? There is a lot of truth to that, although I would caution against indiscriminate judging of others based off what we may think we see in their eyes. For, we could be wrong.
Yet, people we know well, who have shown a consistent pattern in their lives associated between the look in their eyes and their behaviors, we may be able to judge with some accuracy, but still it is very subjective.
But, the point here is not to encourage judging of other people based on what we think we see in their eyes, but it is to merely acknowledge the fact that a person’s eyes can sometimes tell a lot about that person. Lust is one characteristic trait that does reveal itself through the eyes, for example, or anger.
But, the eye can also be the center of something, like the eye of a storm. And, the center of a human body is its heart, not physically, but symbolically, because it is a symbol of the core of our being.
The heart, thus, is the core of our personalities, our characters, and our emotions, passions and desires. So, what we treasure in our hearts will be what we give our passions and loyalties to, also.
So, if our hearts are spiritually healthy, because what we treasure is consistent with what God values, such as purity, honesty, faithfulness, morality, integrity and the like, then we will not be those who practice evil. We won’t commit adultery with our minds or with our bodies. We won’t practice telling lies. And, we won’t habitually be those who entertain ourselves with what is immoral and impure, either.
But, if what we are storing up in our minds and in our hearts is what is immoral, unholy, impure, adulterous, lustful, prideful and selfish (thinking primarily or wholly of self over all others, including God), then that will be revealed in our attitudes, behaviors and speech, too.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
This is not just about money. We cannot serve God and any worldly or earthly treasure, too. For, if what we store up in our hearts is of this world and of the flesh, then that is what will get our time, passion, loyalty and devotion, and God/Jesus will get shoved into a corner and maybe he will get the leftovers.
If that is our situation, then that means he is not Lord (owner-master) of our lives, but self is still on the throne. He is not the one calling all the shots, but we are. So, we are not serving him, but the flesh.
So, Jesus is, thus, saying to us, “Why do you persecute me?” For to persecute someone is to mistreat him; to treat him cruelly or unfairly. For, what is fair to Jesus is for us to give our lives completely over to him, holding nothing back, forsaking all our idols, and for us to leave our old lives of sin behind us to follow him in obedience and in surrender to his will for our lives.
But, if we hold on to our “hidden treasures”, in defiance of his commands and his revealed will for our lives, then we are persecuting him. So, he is calling us to let him be Lord of our lives and to truly serve him as our master, and to do what he commands us to do. And, he will use us in the lives of others, and thus we will be laying up treasures in heaven and not on this earth. But, along with that will come persecution, too, for as they treat Jesus, so will they treat us who follow him with our lives.
An Original Work / June 19, 2013
Based off Acts 20-22, 26; Mt. 28:18-20; Ac. 1:8
Why are you weeping and breaking my heart?
I’m fully ready to suffer for Christ.
If I must die for the sake of His name,
I am convinced it will not be in vain.
Glory to God and to His Son Jesus,
Who has redeemed us; bought with His blood.
May I speak to you? Jesus came to me;
Asked of me, “Why do you persecute me?”
He said, “Now get up and stand on your feet.
Go, and you’ll be told all I have for you.
I have appointed you as a servant,
And as a witness; you have been sent.”
“Go into the world and preach the gospel.
Open the blind eyes. They will receive sight.
Turn them from darkness to the light of Christ;
From power of the evil one to God,
So they may receive forgiveness of sins,
And a place among those who’re in heav’n.”