When you think of treasures, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? When you reflect on the motives of your heart, what treasures do you find yourself seeking? When you examine these things, where do you find your alliances lie? In the next section of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls us to examine the place of our hearts once again but this time, as it pertains to wealth.
Do not store up your treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up your treasures in heaven where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Treasures. I again refer you to the question that opened this blog. “When you think of treasures, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?” If you think of money or possessions as your treasures, I have a harsh reality for you: you cannot take a bank roll or a uhaul to the graveyard. We get so caught up buying this or getting that. We get so consumed with earning money and stocking it up. We get so enthralled with earning status and wealth in this world that we run the risk of losing eternity.
We can say the “right things” that we learned in church. We can say that Jesus is our treasure, but when we look at the motives of our hearts, we find where our true treasure lies. We spend so much time acquiring money and things, but for what? So that someone else, whether its willed to them or it’s taken by them, may enjoy it just until they return to dust too? If we were to keep our hearts set on eternity, I think we would find that much of what we strive for doesn’t matter.
But not all yearnings are futile. Not all things rot and decay. Not all things can be stolen or passed on. Jesus came in infinite power so that the finite would have a grasp at eternity. If we set our treasure in Christ, we obtain something that could never be taken away. Accepting Christ as our Savior and doing the will of our Heavenly Father fixes us a reward that is far more valuable than anything this world could produce.
Adolf Coors IV said this, “if you live for the next world, you will gain this one in the deal. But if you live for this world, you will end up losing them both.” By fixing our hearts and treasures in God, we not only will live with him one day in eternity, but we now have a life down here too. The ultimate goal is being in the presence of the Lord, but we are also gifted with purpose in this life as we are reaching towards heaven. While we are still here doingthe will of God, we still have purpose. And it’s a purpose that cannot be taken or fade away.
The eye is a lamp for your body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will he 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!
I used to think Jesus had a bit of ADD. This didn’t quite seem to fit with the theme here. But he revealed to me he’s speaking in a metaphor. This is still about the place of your heart. Replace the word “eye” with “heart” in this passage. If our treasure is where our heart is, then we want to be sure our hearts are in a healthy place.
Greed is not healthy. Hording is not healthy. Selfishness is not healthy. Yet how often do we allow such things to he present in our lives? We often even deem it as righteous to collect our wealth. This is what he means when he says “if the light within you is actually darkness.” We see a sin as good! This is a deep, deep darkness in our lives. 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith, and pierced themselves with many greifs.” Setting earthly riches as your treasures puts you in danger of missing out on heavenly rewards.
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
All this darkness and money talk may seem like it would be better for us to join a monastery and take a vow of poverty. But I think what Jesus says in this last verse denies that notion. Serving money and having it are two entirely different things. To serve something is to dedicated our time, efforts, and thoughts towards it. Whereas simply having something is much less of an endeavor. God wants us to have what we need in the next life, but also this one. Money is, frankly, a necessity. And having more than just the bare minimum to get by is a blessing that we have the opportunity to be good stewards of and share generously. Having money is not a sin nor will it lead to our downfall.
When earthly wealth becomes our master, we slip off into darkness. It is impossible to serve two masters. We may think we can handle our relationship with God while perusing selfish gains, but I assure you, we cannot. Money appeals so much to our immediate, loud, acute fleshly desires whereas God meets our eternal, subtle, chronic spiritual needs. A cut in the skin will get more quick attention than a chronic disease. We think, we’ll address the disease later, you know, once we get this cut taken care of. But it has been said about money that enough is just a little more. The master of money keeps cutting at your flesh taking up all your attention. Before you know it, you’re covered in antibiotic ointment and bandages but dead from the disease that you should have been treating. Don’t be so busy building up your bank account or filling your life with stuff that you die empty.
If we were to set our sights on the eternal, we would store our treasures up there while simultaneously not missing out on a thing in this life. Money and stuff can’t save you, but Jesus and his blood poured out for you can. Let’s not waste our time toiling for a master that gives us “treasures” that fade away. Instead, let’s take further advice from Adolf Coors IV: “this life is soon going to be past, my friends, but only what is done for Christ and through christ will last.”