Posted by: missionventureministries | February 23, 2015

ARE YOU STORING TREASURES ON EARTH OR IN HEAVEN? – Matthew 6:19-21

T in heaven (E)

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

Here we see Jesus contrasting “treasures on earth” with “treasures in heaven,” and He teaches that our earthly possessions and acquisitions are vulnerable and temporal, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.

Jesus instructed believers to “store your treasures in heaven” rather than on earth. The Lord’s use of the term “store up” is important, for it implies a dedication of energy and effort over time to acquire resources. The pursuit of earthly treasure, while certainly honorable and worthy if used to provide for your family like food, clothing and a home, will simply not last. Only treasure of the heavenly kind with Kingdom purposes will endure, for it will never decay, nor can it be stolen from God’s mighty hand.

Jesus wants us to know that:  Wherever our treasure is, there the desires of our heart will also be. 

In Proverbs 4:23 we read: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”  Here Solomon is telling us to guard our heart above all else, and to focus on those desires that will keep us on the right path with our heavenly Father. 

The issue of the heart was something that Jesus had to bring up quite often in His teachings, as later He gives another example in the story of the rich young ruler in (Matthew 19:16-22). Here we see a young ruler who obeys the Old Testament commandments; however his heart is controlled by his possessions. He is wealthy and supposedly has a lot going for him, but he is not willing to let those things go in order to follow Jesus. When it came down to loving the Father and having no other gods (things) before Him, he is not willing to let go of the wealth he obtained here on earth, in order to gain eternal life.  

Earthly treasures are those that potentially can be stolen, destroyed or consumed. Jesus refers to them as the moth, the rust and the thief. The moth is a tiny little butterfly-looking insect that doesn’t appear harmful at all, but it will destroy the most expensive fabric you could ever own. Rust destroys things that are thought indestructible. And the thief is always looking to break in and steal.  

All through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches us to repent, to change our minds and our attitudes. Jesus is talking about laying up eternal treasures that will be with us forever. Our outlook needs to be like the Old Testament saints as described in Hebrews 11:13-16, who trusted in the promises God gave them.  

So, “how do we lay up treasures in heaven?” The answer is by living the way God has taught us to live in His Holy Scripture. The greatest commandment in all the Bible is: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39)  

We need to understand that when our focus is on the things of this earth, so that we have put our treasures above God, and are serving them instead of our Savior, we need to search our heart and ask ourselves:  

  • Are we earthly-minded or heavenly-minded?
  • Are we investing in the future eternity, or are we investing in the here and now?
  • Are we engrossed with the temporal or are we focused on the eternal?
  • Are we pursuing greed or do we seek to walk in humble obedience to God?

Our focus determines our priorities. If our treasure is in heaven, our heart will be there as well. We will be concerned about God’s holiness, becoming more Christ like, and sharing the gospel. We will be eager to build His Kingdom and not our kingdom. We will recognize that we are steward’s who are entrusted with the management of earthly possessions and that they are not ours in the first place. Furthermore, we will be constantly reminded that as true born again believers we are strangers in this world and that our real home, is in heaven with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Ultimately, the focus of Christ’s message can be found in the final sentence. “Treasures,” here, indicates the position of the heart. How we spend our time, our energy, and yes, our money, reveals the true nature of our desires. How humbling and convicting! Truly, the Word “is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

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