Apostle Don Meares
The usual method of our Lord Jesus in presenting truth is to give us a great principle summed up in a few brief words. He then develops that principle and the explanation that follows. Let’s take a look at Matthew 6:19-21:
Lay Up Treasures in Heaven
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
When we read the passage, the first word that might leap out is “treasure.” But when we think about “treasure,” we usually think in terms of dollars, cents, or anything involving money. But our Lord doesn’t say, “do not lay up money.” Instead, He says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, but lay out for yourself treasures in Heaven.” This means storing up more than money and was meant for both the rich and the poor.
All of us have our own treasures. Many things can be more important than money in our lives. Our treasure could be our home, a person, a position that we hold or seek after, and many things that we consider of more importance than money in our lives. Whatever means everything to you is your treasure. Whatever you find of great importance to you is your treasure. There is nothing wrong with having good things, according to Scripture. But Jesus is warning us against the folly of hoarding personal possessions.
The desire to possess things is instinctive in our human nature. It is God-given. It is a natural thing. We all want to have something of our own. But if we look at the words in the passage carefully, the whole issue here is not necessarily about hoarding or owning things. It’s about where we store our treasures—in Heaven or the earth?
Earthly vs. Heavenly Treasures
What is the difference between storing treasures on earth and in Heaven? What Jesus means by treasures on earth as opposed to treasures in Heaven is that it’s easy to lay up treasures on earth because we all live here. Earthly treasures are things that we think are important to us. But what are heavenly treasures, and how do we store them?
First, we must understand that Christ does not teach us to shun the use of earthly things. The treasures here on earth are tangible and can be enjoyed now. However, those who do not have God in their consciousness are constantly seeking earthly things. They believe these things can bring them satisfaction and security. We can see this kind of mindset when we flip through pages of magazines and scroll through timelines on social media. The world is fully concerned about things, thinking one will find happiness in these temporal belongings. Luke 12:15 says:
“And He said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.’”
Our possessions could be our positions in society, relationships, big houses, gadgets, clothing, and all other things we pursue here on earth. But when it comes to heavenly treasures, these can be found in the realm of attitudes and deeds. These are intangible and immaterial.
In Luke 4:18-19 He says:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
Jesus is saying that His good deeds, His service, and how He loves people are His ministry. The treasures of heaven is about possessing proper attitudes.
Furthermore, the Apostle Paul says to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:17-18:
“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,”
Paul tells Timothy to command the rich not to be haughty or think they’re better than others. When you’re haughty, you become arrogant or prideful. Sometimes, these people set their hopes on uncertain riches instead of God, who gives us what we need to enjoy. In the last part of the verse, the apostle admonishes us to do good, be liberal, and be generous so that we can build a good foundation for the future. Storing heavenly treasures will allow us to take hold of eternal life.
Good deeds are right relationships that bring love, joy, and comfort. These are also connections that strengthen other people. We can also engage in worthy enterprises that will build God’s Kingdom. Jesus shows us in Matthew 25:40 that whatever we do to the least of our brethren, we do unto Him.
In the Gospels, particularly in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 and 6), the word “reward” is listed repeatedly, which tells us that God wants to reward us in eternity. Rewards are significant to God, but it is not something given. We earn these. The heavenly treasures we store are what we do in this lifetime but will enjoy in eternity—our next lifetime.
The rewards we will receive in Heaven will last for eternity. What you will have in eternity is what you have done on earth. There are crowns that you have to earn. These are rewards. While we are told that it’s not wrong to enjoy what we have here on earth, what we gather here can be stolen and destroyed by moths and rust. While we’re here on this earth, these are unavoidable. But in Heaven, no one and nothing will touch your rewards.
The problem with earthly treasures is that we can get as much as we want, but these will never satisfy us. Our tastes change. We get bored and lose interest after a while. One of the most difficult things in life is realizing that what you enjoyed when you were young is no longer what you want when you get older. You may aspire for a big house when you’re young, but when you get older, you would rather live in a small place where it’s easier to reach the bathroom. Our tastes and interests fluctuate easily. Financial losses occur. Markets collapse. Trends change. And there is no way for us to stop change. We brought nothing into the world and can’t take anything when we die.
On the other hand, treasures in Heaven are never lost. The simplest thing, the least important act done in the Name of Christ, never loses its reward. An hour spent visiting the sick, counseling the troubled, comforting the grieving, or cheering the lonely, those rewards are never forfeited. 1 Peter 1:4 says that there is an “inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,” On the day of judgment, how you lived your life here on earth can never be changed. You will receive the rewards you deserve. Your works will be tried by fire (1 Peter 1:7). Some of these works will be consumed by fire, but works like gold, silver, and precious stone will remain forever and will go with you in eternity. Whatever rewards, position, and status you will have in eternity must be achieved now.
Are you living for the next life?
If one looks at your life, will they see more earthly than heavenly treasures? Will there be a balance? If the heavenly treasures are not the majority of your life, you won’t be happy with eternity because of what you’ve done here on earth. When we look at your deeds and the treasures you have amassed, it will be easy to determine where your heart really was. Only the treasures in Heaven are safe deposits. They can’t be lessened by any degree. When we do a charitable deed, we must not let our left hand know what the right hand is doing (Matthew 6:3).
When Jesus says, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be,” in Matthew 6:21, it means that your treasure can draw you and exercise authority over you. Your heart will always be in it. Your emotions, affections, and thoughts will always be on your treasure. When we store earthly treasures, we use people instead of loving them. When you love things, these might end up using you. Being too focused on earthly things can also take control of your mind. The stuff you possess can own you. When you’re too engrossed with these temporary treasures, your mind begins to justify and rationalize. It can make something wrong seem logical, drawing you away from your heavenly focus. This is what we need to be careful of.
Many Christians serve God on Sunday but serve Mammon from Monday to Saturday. They believe that compromising their values on other days of the week is accepted by God. There is no middle ground. If your life isn’t focused on God, then you are not serving Him. If you let your materialism take control of your life, you must examine your life and repent. You might say you are a Christian, but you are not walking in God’s power.
One way to see where your focus lies is your reaction when you think about losing your position, belongings, and other riches. Will you be able to move forward even without these? When your sights are on God and eternity with Him, you can use material things objectively. You can use these things but not be bound by them. When you realize that not everything you have is yours, you can detach your worth and focus from material things.
When investing in the Kingdom of God, many people find it difficult to hear God’s voice and offer what they have. However, this is a way for us to store heavenly treasures. We must take it when we find opportunities to expand God’s Kingdom and grow our faith. If we want to receive our rewards in eternity, our goal should only be to please God. When God is first in our lives, He will make it clear what we must do, pursue and acquire for His glory.
Live in light of eternity. Seek to please God above all else, then His blessings will follow. To know more about storing heavenly treasures, watch the full message here:
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