Treasure in Heaven

They might be the most powerful words Jesus spoke in His time on earth: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21 NIV) I read Matthew 6 as part of my Bible in a year schedule. It reminded me of a mission trip to Haiti I took nearly five years ago. Haitians are the poorest people in the Western Hemisphere and among the poorest in all the world. We were told the number one industry in Haiti was the lottery. Those with virtually nothing would spend the little they have on the remote chance of winning big. The next sentences in Matthew 6 are also important:

“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.” Matthew 6:22-23 (NIV)

The Greek word used here for healthy is “haplous.” Some think “a good eye” means to be generous and liberal in giving.” Conversely, the word used for unhealthy is “poneros:” which means bad, the negative quality of an object; evil, wicked, crime, the negative moral quality of a person or action opposed to God and His goodness. (NIV Exhaustive Concordance Dictionary)

Storing up treasurers in heaven is often seen as good works for God. That’s true, but I would take it a step further. We have two options. Our eyes can focus on treasures on earth or treasures in heaven. Treasures on earth can be more the material wealth. They can be anything we give a higher importance than God: relationships, popularity, acceptance, anything of this earth. A healthy eye is more concerned about what it can provide for others. An unhealthy eye puts all those desires before God. The treasure stored up in Heaven, in my opinion, can also refer to God Himself.

It is the healthy eye that makes Him the focus over everything. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the pleasures of this world, but our focus and our priority are always on God. This worldview sounds like a great sacrifice, but Jesus points out later in Matthew 6 that it comes with great reward:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)

Perhaps I was wrong above. Perhaps the most powerful words Jesus ever spoke were “do not worry.” They are true. When your treasure is in heaven and not on earth, that is where your heart will be. And it’s true, you can live life on earth without worry. Choose Jesus, focus on what you’re getting and not what you’re giving up, and a life of worry-free joy can be yours!

Pastor Jerry Bader

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