Treasure in heaven - by Dan Stephenson
“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, NKJV)
In these verses from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus encouraged his hearers to store up for themselves “treasures in hea
ven.” But what are these treasures? How do we store them up? And why will we need treasures in heaven, anyway?.
Treasures, especially heavenly ones, don’t have to be wooden chests full of gold and jewels. The word “treasure” in the Bible just means the things we set aside to save. It represents our priorities, the things we care about, the things we hold on to. Treasures reflect our true priorities. We shouldn’t think of these treasures as individual spiritual savings accounts, but rather, see them as ways we invest in the kingdom of God, both now and in the age to come.
In verses 19-20, Jesus explained the difference between treasures on earth and treasures in heaven. Treasures on earth—those earthly things we care about and hold on to—are like investments that have risks. They can be lost, and they can lose their value. They usually disappoint us. And ultimately, we must leave them behind. But treasures in heaven—those eternal things we care about and hold on to—are eternally secure. They are guaranteed by God himself.
Apparently, we store up treasure in heaven by being generous. Later in his ministry, Jesus told a rich young man that he would have treasure in heaven if he sold his belongings, gave to the poor, and followed him (Matt. 19:21). The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy that we can store up "a good foundation for the time to come" if we do good, and are rich in good works, ready to give, and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:18-19).
There is one more clue about heavenly treasure in the verses immediately following our passage. In Matthew 6:22-23, Jesus explained that if we have a good eye, we will be full of light, but if our eye is bad, we will be full of darkness. What does this have to do with treasure? There was a Jewish figure of speech that a generous person had a good eye, while a stingy person had a bad eye. Proverbs 22:9 says, “He who has a generous (literally, ‘good’) eye will be blessed, For he gives of his bread to the poor.” (NKJV). It is possible that even in Matthew 6:22-23, Jesus was encouraging us to be generous with the blessings God has given us, because when we do that, we store up treasures in heaven.
Look for ways to make a spiritual treasure deposit this week by being generous to someone in need.
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