Where Your Treasure Is (Matthew 6:19-21)


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My wife informs me that I have a morbid personality, and she’s probably right. I have an uncanny knack for spotting the downside of any good situation. Some see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I notice the rust on the pot.

For example, when we lived on the third floor of a secure apartment complex in a good part of town, I was nevertheless obsessed with double- and triple-checking the locks on the doors and windows every night. And with all the natural disasters through the country, I’ve been concerned about what happens if the “Big One” hits here in California. I’ve started to map out a plan for rescuing my wife, my soon-to-be-born son, and my dog.

And that brings me to today’s Scripture, in which Jesus says:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

To understand this passage, you need to read its conclusion first. That conclusion states a neutral principle: Your heart is with your treasure. It’s a neutral principle because it’s true whether your treasure is good or bad, valuable or worthless, eternal or temporary. If you value money, your heart will be with making and accumulating more stuff. If you value sex, your heart will be with getting more and more pleasure. If you value power, your heart will be with acquiring control over others.

The key thing is to value what’s ultimately valuable. Jesus says that “treasures on earth” are penultimately valuable; they are second-order values because they susceptible to destruction and theft. Fortunes can be won and lost. Pleasure wanes with age, as does power. On the other hand, “treasures in heaven” are ultimately valuable because they last forever. They are given by God, and they cannot be taken away by any other. Romans 8.39 says that absolutely nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I think Paul’s statement helps us understand what “treasures in heaven” are. They are not things or activities. Heaven’s treasure is the love of God. When we seek God’s love, when we love him in return, and when we share God’s love with others, we are storing up “treasures in heaven.”

That’s easy to say, of course, and most of us believe it. But are our hearts in it? Dr. Jim Bradford, who was my senior pastor years ago, used to say that our checkbooks and calendars reveal what’s in our hearts. So, here’s my challenge to you. Look at your patterns of spending and your usage of time. Do they reveal a heart set on heavenly treasure? Or do they demonstrate a heart set on food for moths and thieves?

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