What do you treasure? Hopefully, what we treasure most in life isn’t things, but people, relationships and our faith in God. But if we narrow the question and ask instead, what things do you treasure most, what would you answer? Someone asked if you came home to see your house burning, and you knew that no one was inside, and you had only one opportunity to rush in and save what you could grab quickly, what would you think of that you had to get before it could burn? For some it would be pictures, for others it would be something they have had passed down to them from generations past and for others it would be things related to their children who are now grown. One reality is that every treasure we hold dear in this life, can quickly be lost. Relationships can crumble. Ones we love may die or we may die ourselves. The things we hid to make certain we don’t lose, can be forgotten only to return to where you thought you had put them to find they aren’t there anymore.
Jesus spoke clearly about treasures in life in the Sermon on the Mount. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and were thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure in, there your heart will be also.” This was a long time before lock boxes, alarm systems and cameras to recognize and stop intruders, but all our efforts to make sure our treasures on earth are secure fail in the long run. How many people have you known who were sure they had their future planned and taken care of only to have the stock market fall drastically to see their wealth fall to nothing? How many have you known who were sure their business would prosper and they were secure only to see the business falter and leave them with massive debt instead of secure? We may think our bank, our bonds, our government or our annuity is secure, but banks fail, governments fall and insurance companies need insurance. Treasures in this life are never secure because we aren’t secure ourselves in this life. Disease, death, and decay are always around.
No wonder Jesus pleaded with us to not put our treasures in this life. He pleaded with us to instead put our treasures in heaven where nothing and no one can invade to steal or destroy our future. Even Satan who invaded the Garden of Eden can’t get into heaven when we put our treasures there. Listen to the apostle Paul describe his future when death by execution was approaching fast. “I am now ready to be offered. The time of my departure is close. I have fought a good fight. I have kept the faith. I have finished the course. Therefore there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge will award to me on that day- and not to me only but to all those who longed for his appearing.” Rather than facing death thinking all was lost, he faced death with the sure conviction that all the reward for his faithfulness to God was waiting for him in glory.
Notice, Jesus said one of the most powerful things of all Scripture when he said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Whatever we consider the real treasures of life take our heart, soul and motivation with them. If our treasures are in heaven nothing in this life will cause us to lose hope or to feel that all is lost. When we become so angry and attack everyone who disagrees with us about political things, it demonstrates our treasures are laid up down here. Whatever moves us, upsets us and makes us angry, or fills us with tremendous joy and excitement is also where the treasure of our life is found. That is the reason it is so important to put the treasures of life with God in heaven rather than on the failing aspects of this life.
Notice Jesus made two other statements on this point that are important. First, he said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” This isn’t about the physical eyes but the thinking behind what we see. It has more to do with what we look at and and think of when we see a thing. Peter spoke of those whose “eyes are full of adultery”. It wasn’t a problem of sight, but of what they looked at and thought about when they saw a woman. Job said he made a covenant with his eyes not to look on a young woman lustfully. When our eyes can only see how we can somehow profit from other people’s failures or lack of interest our eyes are on the wrong things. Our spiritual eyes determine what we see in life. Amazingly we can all look at the very same scene or event in life and see entirely different things because of what we are looking for in the scene.
Then Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” There is good reason why Jesus spoke so often about money during his life on earth. He knew that money and things can easily become the dominant force in our lives. He also knew that our values in life will drive not only what we do, what we put our interest in, it will also determine where we put our money. Money and things are great when used as a way to serve God and others. Money is a horrible god. It makes a great servant, but a lousy master. I have no doubt that the reason the Bible speaks so much about giving isn’t that God needs our money, but he wants us and He knows that when our treasures are down here our hearts will follow. When we use our money for the service of God and for the good of others as well as caring for our own, then our hearts move outside us to focus on God, needs, hurts and people around us.
Consider for just a moment, what is on your mind most of the time when you aren’t involved in work or some project at home? When we are on our own time and our thoughts are all on sports, politics, or sex, it is a strong indication where our heart is. When we have personal time and our thoughts go to prayer, to serving others and to being part of the body of Christ on earth it indicates our heart is in heaven. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.