Looking again at what Jesus has to say about our treasures.
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.
We spend our lives accumulating things, laying up treasure here on earth, building our “legacy”, trying and hoping to accumulate enough to “pass on” to the next generation so that we can “make a difference” in their lives. We hope and dream that we will pile up enough money so that all our hopes can be satisfied. We tell our children that they can whatever they wish to be, always with an eye and a guide towards being “successful” in life, with our definition of success nearly always being the ability to create an income and accumulate wealth. We consider ourselves blessed if we “succeed” in these ventures, the wealthier we are the more blessed we must be. Yet we know that Jesus said that “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”” Mark 10:25 ESV. So I ask you, exactly what kind of “blessing” is it we are receiving if will somehow remove us from or prevent us from finding the kingdom of God?
Look at the words of King Solomon here, who just so happened to be one of the wealthiest men in the world, if not the wealthiest man of his time. “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.” Ecclesiastes 5:10-12 ESV. Solomon had laid up plenty of wealth for himself of his own here and now. But he had clearly come to the understanding that it was all worthless in the long run. In fact, Solomon, with all his wealth and wisdom and harems and wives and honor had come to this conclusion – ““Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”” Ecclesiastes 1:2 NLT. Over and over again, he tells this same thing, everything is meaningless. Twelve full chapters on the meaninglessness of wealth, pride, respect, honor, privilege, all the things we treasure in this world. And this is how he concludes it all, the only thing that gives meaning to any of it – “That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.” Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NLT.
So, Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. Treasures here on earth can not be kept forever. Nothing is safe from moths and corrosion, computer viruses, power outages and lost backups, identity thieves, the repo man, and the roller coaster market. Whatever survives all these hazards, will not survive the day that time catches up with each of us as we go gently (or not so gently) into that good night.
The alternative laid out by Jesus is that we should lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. Direct your lives and energy in the making a difference for the world that lives for eternity, the kingdom of God. Invest your life in what God is doing and the investment will never be lost.
This means we must invest time and energy into our relationship with Jesus himself, and through Him to God. Steps 11 and 12 in recovery go like this – 11). “We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and power to carry that out,” and 12). “Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” We try to improve our contact, our direct relationship with God, and carry his message to others, investing in his kingdom on a daily basis. This is part of how we invest in His kingdom here and now – by devoting ourselves to the good of other people, those who are around us within the range of our power and ability to affect. “But the Lord ‘s portion is his people….” Deuteronomy 32:9 ESV. Those around us are among God’s treasures, just as we are. We are to try to invest in his kingdom through those around us. But we must not forget the one soul each of us is most responsible for. We have the responsibility for the care of our own souls and lives in a way no one else does, and in a way we do not and can not have the care of anyone else.
We are both neighbors to and parts of the world around us. “…You have established the earth, and it stands fast. By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants.” Psalms 119:90-91 ESV. God loves the earth, the world he created. Because he loves it and it is good, the care of our world itself is eternal work and part of our eternal life.
The apostle Paul says this – “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:8-10 ESV. This is how we lay up treasures in heaven on a daily, even hourly basis. Do not grow weary, do not give up. If we sow from the flesh we reap corruption, from the spirit we reap eternal life and enter the kingdom of God even as we struggle daily between the spirit and the flesh.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Do you treasure those things you must work for, the things we lust after and labor for, take out loans to buy and then work, work, work to pay off? This flows from your heart. Your heart is your will, the center of your being from which your whole life flows. Your heart affects your whole personality. It directs everything we do. A heart rightly directed toward kingdom purposes and desires bring health and wholeness to the entire personality.
“”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 ESV