An important way that members of Christ’s Kingdom show devotion to God is in our attitude about money and the way we spend it. This is what the Lord said:
“‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal and 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 you treasure is, there you heart will be also.’”
What do you think Jesus is talking about when He says, “treasures on earth”? What are the treasures in Heaven? What are some ways to gather those treasures?
With our devoted service to Jesus, we are gathering glorious rewards in Heaven that will last forever. Wow. Our acts of kindness to the poor, our fasting and prayer, our hungering and thirsting for righteousness, all of these things are building up for us a treasure trove in eternity.
It can be hard to imagine as we live on this earth how magnificent Heaven is going to be. We look at nice homes, fancy cars, or expensive clothes and they seem so precious and wonderful. But when we get to Heaven, things like phones and televisions are going to seem shabby and cheap. In the glorious, living light of Jesus, only the truly worthy things will seem wonderful to us.
When we desire the things of earth more than God’s heavenly blessings, it is like we are starving people, scrambling to get a morsel of moldy bread. Instead of waiting on God and obeying so that we can have the delicious eternally satisfying food God offers, humans strive to grasp hold of toxic things that might taste good in the moment, but give us food poisoning in the end. Even good things…like the love of family, a rewarding job, or a safe home, become poisoned treasures if they become the things we worship.
In many ways, we don’t have to wait to enjoy the treasures of Heaven. We can enjoy them now. As the richness and joy of seeking after righteousness takes hold in our lives, the pure peace of God’s ways will give a happiness that the darkness of the world cannot understand. As we respond to our Lord in love, He creates deeper wells in our hearts to receive deeper love in Him. Our times of prayer and praise and worship become far more precious and filled with clear, bright joy than any other activity on earth can bring. And our ability to love others becomes stronger and more whole. We receive the gift of greater love between our family members and those in our church as we press on for the treasures of Heaven. And once we arrive in God’s eternal Kingdom, all of those things will be even more filled with His goodness and light. It will be a life of everlasting bliss!
Now, for people that don’t have faith or believe in Heaven and the rewards of God, these promises don’t mean very much. But for those who believe what Jesus said, these are some of the most remarkable promises ever given in the history of humanity.
As Jesus challenged His listeners to make God their treasure instead of the things money can by, He was not telling His listeners that money itself was bad. He was telling them that the love of money is wrong, especially when getting money and things becomes more important than the Lord. The decisions of true followers of Christ will be based on doing everything for the sake of his Kingdom and for Kingdom rewards. Money becomes just another way to serve God. He is the great treasure, and He is worth everything.
A lot of what we treasure has to do with what we long for with our eyes. Jesus said:
“‘The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!’”
Have you ever looked at something and wanted it, even if it didn’t belong to you? Have you ever been absolutely certain you were right about something, only to learn that you were totally wrong? Have you ever done something in anger and felt very good and triumphant at the time, only to feel terrible about it later? Those were moments when your eyes were darkened. When we see things wrongly, everything else about us follows us into that darkness! It effects how we think and act.
That was the problem of the Pharisees and Sadducees. They were so sure they saw with clear light, but they really saw everything through the darkness of their sin. Their folly is a warning for us all. It is a very terrible danger for all humans…one person cannot serve both the light and the darkness at the same time.
The warning of Jesus should give us all a reverent fear, longing to avoid that mistake. The best protection against darkness is to continually come to the Light! When we have the humility to go to Jesus with honest repentance about every sin, we are cleansed, and He makes our eyes bright with the light of His Son.