“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).
JESUS ENCOURAGES US TO LAY UP FOR OURSELVES “TREASURES IN HEAVEN” RATHER THAN “TREASURES ON EARTH.” These two treasures are related to one another in an interesting way. As Erwin W. Lutzer wrote, “Treasures in heaven are accumulated by our attitude to our treasures (or lack of them) on earth.” It is impossible to appreciate heavenly things if we don’t have a proper perspective on those that are earthly, and vice versa. However many or few treasures on earth we may have, if we don’t use these in the service of spiritual priorities then we won’t have any treasures in heaven. We may bankrupt ourselves spiritually by “saving” too much of what we have materially.
There is an old adage that says “Better rich in God than rich in gold.” Jesus explained why this is true when He said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” If our heart is going to be where our treasures are, then it’s obviously desirable to have God as our treasure! The difficulty, however, lies in seeing the truth about ourselves when we’ve grown richer in gold than in God. No doubt, the prosperous Christians in Laodicea would have said that they were rich in God as well as in gold, but they were self-deceived. Christ said, “[You] do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17).
There probably aren’t many people who wouldn’t say that God is their most valuable treasure. And yet in our own lives, just as at Laodicea, the evidence may be contradictory. The real location of our treasure is most easily discovered by looking at where we invest most of our energy and enthusiasm. When we have a moment or two of discretionary time, if our thoughts, our conversation, and our activities are attracted more energetically and enthusiastically to earthly things, then there’s no use saying that our treasure is in heaven. The wonderful thing, however, is that we can change. If we need to, we can adjust where our treasure is!
“Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure. Where your treasure is, there is your heart. Where your heart is, there is your happiness” (Augustine of Hippo).