October 6, 2021
Rachel and I are thankful for your support and partnership in praying each Wednesday for our prodigals and for revival. It is always good to harmonize our hearts with God’s. Prayer does this!
“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).
These are the poignant words of Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount. He is reminding us that our hearts will follow what we treasure. The question, then, is this — where is our treasure? Finding our treasure will identify our true affection and love. When we find where our love or loves are focused, then we understand why we do what we do.
In these verses, the Lord Jesus doesn’t muddy the waters or present a grey zone that is ill-defined. He simply says that your treasures are either on earth or in heaven. These are two opposing and opposite world-views.
Let’s identify what our treasure is. Treasure is something that is considered valuable. One type is earthly and the other is heavenly. How do we differentiate between them?
My feeling is that the two treasures identified correlate with our two natures.
Our fleshly nature, which comes from our sinful condition, is interested in satisfying self-centered, self-seeking, and self-absorbed endeavors. These are things that hinder us from advancing the kingdom of God, which could include passions that are worldly and dishonoring to God.
We need to be careful here not to judge others. This is a personal matter between you and God. Jesus is not talking about the amount of money, possessions, or assets that you may have. He is not forbidding a believer from diligently saving for the future.
Nor are they things that God has given us to enjoy in this life, which may include things like a much needed vacation, or a day of rest in the park, or simply a good cup of coffee. (This I enjoyed with my wife’s parents recently in downtown Boston. It’s called Caffé Nero if you ever get the chance to go. The pastries are also very good!)
Our new nature in Christ, which is empowered by the Holy Spirit within us, will enable us to live for the glory and pleasure of our God. John R.W. Stott says, “To lay up treasure in heaven is to do anything on earth whose effects last for eternity.”
As you love your marriage partner, you are reserving treasure in heaven. As you set boundaries and take proper care of your own body, soul, and spirit, you are laying up treasure in heaven. As you pour your life into your local church, you are heaping up treasure in heaven. As you make that call, visit that person, spend time with your child, etc., you are amassing treasure in heaven.
If treasure is something of value, one of the objectives is durability and longevity. The point of Jesus’ words is to impress upon us that the treasures of earth are temporal at best, but the treasures of heaven are eternal. The earthly treasure will be eaten by moths, destroyed by rust, or stolen by thieves. It will come to nothing. The heavenly treasure is indestructible and incorruptible. It will last forever.
Jesus is drawing a line in the sand. He is saying that we cannot sit on the fence. Your life at any given moment is being lived either for earthly things or heavenly things.
We get to choose to put our treasures in heaven’s bank!
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel