Lay Up Treasures In Heaven
Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
The Lamp of the Body
Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!
You Cannot Serve God and Riches
No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.
Matthew 6:19-24 NLT
I apologize for my blogging tardiness; I’ve been reading a pre-released copy of one of my favorite authors, Jerry B Jenkins. I’ll share more about that in another blog, and until then, here is the next set of verses in our study of Matthew!
Treasures: This first section I call “the desire to acquire!” We all seem to have a built in desire to want things but it appears more intense around the holidays, don’t you think? Our mail, newspaper, and television commercials are filled with material things that bring on those feelings of want with more intensity. I have even encouraged those desires from my family by asking them to tell me what they want for Christmas in the hopes that I could fulfill their wishes and make them happy.
There is nothing wrong with having goals to acquire things when we are wise stewards of our finances and if those “things” don’t consume us.
But how do we know when we have crossed the line of healthy versus unhealthy desires? I think it begins with a lack of contentment. Our desires begin to surpass our common sense or financial means, and eventually turn into greed, meaning we are never satisfied and we want more and more.
For example, one of the most common things I have seen in my own neighborhood are three car garages so filled with “stuff” the owners cannot even get their cars in the garage! That blows my mind! Other examples include boxes of items that we have had so long we don’t even know what are in them anymore. Maybe we have too much clothing because we won’t downsize our closets? (I know, I know, we might lose weight and be able to wear those things ‘someday?’) Or maybe we just can’t pass up a great sale, so we buy whether we have a need or not! The example I find the most terrifying is when we see someone finally part with an item but they keep talking about it or asking about it when you are with them, maybe even for years! If we find ourselves doing that, it is clear we may have physically turned loose of the item, but it still very much has control over us!
If any of these categories sound familiar, perhaps it is time to ask some hard questions. Why? Because what we treasure the most controls us, whether we want to admit it or not! If our treasures or possessions become too important to us, we must re-establish control and/or get rid of some stuff.
“Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.” James 1:14
Instead of storing earthly treasures in garages or storage facilities, we are told to “Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:20-21 NLT
If our homes were destroyed tomorrow, everything would be gone in an instant. Even the best home insurance policy could not fully reimburse us for all that we have in our possession. However, if we spent our time and effort in building a relationship with God and our families, our treasures would be forever intact.
What are the desires of our heart? If it is just for material things I believe we are missing out on moments of beauty and priceless treasures!
Lamp of Our Body: There is a child’s church song that always comes to my mind when I read these verses:
“O be careful little eyes what you see
O be careful little eyes what you see
There’s a Father up above
And He’s looking down in love
So, be careful little eyes what you see.”
The song has additional verses that include warnings for our ears to be careful what we hear, our feet to be careful where they go, our hands to be careful what we touch, and finally our mouths to be careful what we say. (Are you squirming like I am, especially on that last one?)
What have we seen (watched), listened to, touched, gone to, or said lately and has it provided “light” for our body? Would we be willing to share all that we have done with everyone? If the answer is “no,” oh goodness people, we are probably deep in sin!! Please understand that you cannot keep secrets from God! He knows all and sees all!
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” Hebrews 4:13 NLT
What do our eyes say about us?
“But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!” Matthew 6:23 NLT
If we believe a sin in our life is actually light, brother/sister, we are in deep darkness and there will be serious consequences! I once knew a man who was cheating on his wife, but he believed it was okay because “she makes me happy and God wants me to be happy.” Have mercy! Sin never makes God happy! If you believe otherwise, that is a lie from the pit of hell! This man lost his family, his home, his job, his friends, and the “other women” eventually left him too when she realized it cost him all he had. (Clearly her treasures were misplaced as well, wouldn’t you agree?)
God or Riches: I almost think these last two verses should have started with the word “therefore” because it perfectly ties together all that we have learned! Let’s look at our last section again with that word included:
[Therefore,] “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money, [or to any earthly treasure, or anything that is unhealthy].”
One verse summarizes our entire set of verses today: “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:21 NLT
Where is the desire of your heart? What would God say is your primary focus?
Closing Prayer: Father God, thank you for these lessons that remind us that we must carefully audit our lives to see what/who/where our treasure lies. Do we see changes that need to be made? Are we putting too much importance on what we have or what we incorporate into our lives? If we lost everything today, would we believe that because we have You in our heart and the love of our family, we would still have a storehouse of treasures? May it be so, Lord, may it be so. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.