The Everlasting Treasure
Scripture: "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. Matthew 6:19-21 (NKJV)
Observation: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven—The language in Luke (Lu 12:33) is very bold—“Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail.”
For where your treasure is — that which ye value most.
there will your heart be also —“Your treasure — your heart” is probably the true reading here: “your,” in Lu 12:34, from which it seems to have come in here. “What a man loves,” said Martin Luther, “that is his God. For he carries it in his heart, he goes about with it night and day, he sleeps and wakes with it; be it what it may—wealth or pelf, pleasure or renown.”
Application: I suppose some people will read the words of Jesus in today’s text and conclude that we should not buy a house, or a car, and that we should not have any kind of savings or checking account, and definitely we should have no investments. In other words, we should pretty much live like hermits, maybe in some sort of commune, and live in a state of constant poverty.
I’m not sure that’s what Jesus would have liked us to conclude. Some people who have taken His words to that extreme have reached their retirement age and have found themselves impoverished and depending on the charity of others or of their family. Others have had to continue working way past their retirement age, not out of choice but out of necessity.
I believe that Jesus was talking about accumulating material things excessively, beyond what one could possibly spend in a lifetime. There are people who, in the pursuit of riches, have mistreated, even enslaved, others, or who have lied, cheated, and stolen from others in the process. So we can hear the words of Jesus reminding us that no matter how much we may have accumulated it will do us not good at the end of life. As someone said, you have never seen a hearse pulling a u-haul trailer.
So, what does Jesus refer to when He says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” I would like to suggest at least three possibilities:
1. When we return faithfully God’s tithe and give offerings to further God’s cause on earth, and we do it gladly, not grudgingly, it is because our heart is responding to God’s generosity toward us.
2. When we spend adequate quality and quantity time with our family – our spouse and our children, or our elderly parents – we are helping them in the development of their character for eternity. When we die, that will be the only lasting thing we can take with us. Someone said that you have never heard a rich executive say, upon their retirement or the end of your life, “I wish I had spend more time at work.” Many will say, “I wish I had spent more time with my family.” Live without that regret and invest in eternity by spending good quality and quantity time with them, starting today.
3. When we have enough to take care of our needs and then begin to use the rest to help others – maybe by helping people in real need like widows, poor people, or the elderly, or by providing employment for those unemployed – we are following God’s command to “Love one another,” or to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
A Prayer You May Say: Father God, please help us to keep our priorities in the proper order, return Your tithe and give offerings, spend time and money in such a way that we help our loved ones prepare for eternity, and help the needy and the poor. As we do these things, may we be accumulating everlasting treasure.
Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.
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