Matthew 6:19-21 NIV
“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.”
Treasures on Earth
What kind of treasures? Are these merely things you can buy with money? Are we talking here just about physical possessions like houses, property, automobiles, clothing, shoes, and furniture, etc.?
And aren’t our treasures as individual as we are? What’s that saying about “What is one man’s junk is another man’s treasure”? It is true. What might be a treasure to me might not be a treasure to you at all.
Isn’t a treasure whatever we regard as a treasure? It is whatever we cherish, adore, value, or hold dear, which can be wealth, possessions or anything that is considered valuable by this world’s standards. It could be our freedoms to move about or to go here or there, too.
We are not supposed to store these things up on this earth. We are not to hoard them or to hold on to them tightly and stingily. Everything we hold dear in this life could be taken from us in the flash of a moment. All we have to do is look at the life of Job. He knew what that was like.
When something we treasure begins to own or control us, or when it begins to take the place of God in our hearts, or when it takes precedence over loving God and other people, or when it becomes a matter of pride and idolatry to where we worship it, that is wrong.
We need to be generous with what God has blessed us with. And we need to use what he has given us to minister his love and grace to others. We are to be hospitable and giving and sensitive to other people’s needs, too, listening for the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
And whatever God has blessed us with in this life in the way of possessions or freedoms or family or whatever, we need to give it all back to the Lord, in truth, and be willing to leave it all behind when God calls us hither to places or to situations we have never encountered before in this life.
Treasures in Heaven
So, what are treasures in heaven? They are different from treasures here on this earth, for they are not perishable as the earthly treasures are. So, they are not anything that money can buy or that we can gain by ourselves in our own wisdom, cunning or strength.
And not everyone can store (or lay) up treasures in heaven. Only those who have believed in Jesus with God-given faith, who have died with him to sin, who have been reborn of the Spirit of God, and who are walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17).
They who are storing (laying) up treasures in heaven are those who are abiding in Christ and in his word, who are living to please God, who have surrendered their lives to Christ, and who are walking in obedience to his commands (Jn 15:1-17; Rom 12:1-2; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Rom 6:1-23).
They are storing up treasures in heaven because they are committed to doing the will of God and to loving God and others as God has commanded them to do. So, what they are doing in obedience to the Lord, and in surrender of their lives to him, is bearing fruit for God’s eternal kingdom.
Not only are they following the Lord in obedience, but this means they are also impacting other people’s lives with the love of God and with the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are not perfect people, mind you, but they are walking according to the Spirit, and they are not living to fulfill the passions of the flesh.
Their desire is for the Lord, to do his will, and to love others and to share with them the truth of the gospel so that they can come to know the Lord Jesus, too. Thus, they are storing up treasures in heaven because by their love, and by their obedience, and by their testimonies they are making a difference in other people’s lives which can lead them to faith in Christ.
Treasures and Hearts
Where our treasure is, there our heart will be also.
Everything we have in this life that is of this world, in the way of material possessions or family or freedoms or whatever, is not ours to hold on to. What we have we have been given by God or God has certainly allowed it, for a time. And he is just allowing us to use it.
As followers of Jesus Christ our lives belong to God. We are his possession, and our lives are to be lived for his glory and praise. We are to no longer live our lives for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. So, we should also have the attitude that everything we have also belongs to God.
We should not hold on to anything in this life, but we should surrender all to the Lord Jesus. And we should take our hands off. That doesn’t mean that we are not good stewards of what he has provided us with or given into our care, though. But we don’t take ownership. We leave that to him.
That way our hearts remain in the right place. God is who we treasure. He is the one we seek after. He is the one we want to please with our lives and give our time, affection, and passion to. He is our desire. And we will gladly walk away from everything that is of this earth in order to follow him wherever he leads us.
An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV
My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.
So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.
Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…
They know my voice, so they follow me.