On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. Today, we consider the choice between storing treasure on earth or in heaven.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where 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 is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21)
Through Matthew 6:19-34, Jesus presents two choices using four different metaphors (two treasures, two ways to see, two masters and two attitudes). Each of these ways to live have the same basic idea: we can serve the Father or we can serve wealth, we cannot serve both.
In today’s text, Jesus wants us to understand that we store treasure on earth or heaven by how we use our wealth. If we use what God has given to us for our will and ‘kingdom’ it is wasted. If, however, we will prayerfully use what we have for our enjoyment and the Father’s will and Kingdom, it is stored in heaven. Paul speaks on much the same lines when he writes,
‘Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.’ (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
Jesus tells us to purposefully, ‘store up for yourselves treasures in heaven’. We are to pray and plan to use all of our capacities of wealth, time and abilities to invest in God’s work. Our budgets and calendars are to have heaven in mind.
The Parable of the Bags of Gold gives us some insight into this subject. Each of those in the parable are given an amount ‘according to their ability’. The parable teaches us a sobering lesson that we must use what God gives to us in order to serve Him. Those who do will be rewarded, but those who don’t will face judgement. It’s worth reading and thinking about the whole parable, but here’s an extract,
“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” (Matthew 6:19-21)