Updated: Mar 29, 2022
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
God Looks at Your Heart
This passage goes to the heart of Jesus' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount (See Matthew 5:3:12 below - the Beatitudes). Most people in Jesus' audience grew up believing that what was most important to God was their performance - their actions, behaviors, and words spoken. The pharisees were considered highly spiritual by others because they were strict and rigid in their religiosity and traditions. However, Christ teaches that God cares about what's in a person's heart. Righteous behavior and actions are only truly righteous when supported by a devoted, loving heart to Christ and others. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
Do Not Lay Up Treasures on Earth
Jesus applies this perspective to money. He teaches us not to stockpile riches or hoard money and earthly possessions. (Yes, we are to be thoughtful and save for a rainy day, provide for our families, and be good stewards of what God has given us. However, we are not to be greedy or tied to perishable money or earthly treasures in any way). They are all temporary things and easily lost. Everything on earth belongs to God anyways, and these things are not for us to keep in this temporary world. We will all leave our money and possessions behind us when we die, and we won't even care one iota about them! We will finally be in the presence of Christ, looking forward into the eternal glory that has awaited us, with the best always yet to come. We will finally be home with our Lord, in perfect peace, joy, and love.
Lay Up Treasures in Heaven
Instead of laying up treasures here on earth, Jesus says to lay up treasure for yourself in heaven. Store up rewards in eternity for yourself by expressing your true love and devotion to God and others while you're still here on earth. Every kind, selfless, loving act done from the heart here on earth will be rewarded to us as treasure in heaven; likely it'll be rewarded tenfold in a way that our minds can't even comprehend. The point Jesus is making is not that Christians should not have wealth or possessions, but we are to have only one ultimate priority and treasure; and that is Jesus Christ, who will be our treasure for an eternity.
Our attitudes towards wealth matter because our hearts are owned by whatever we consider our treasure to be. The treasure of our hearts, whether perishable or imperishable, proves to be the real foundation of our thoughts, affections, desires, and hopes. If we focus all or most of our time, energy, and effort on building our wealth, managing our money, storing up piles of money, chasing after jewelry, art, gold, handbags, shoes, cars, houses, etc, it shows that wealth and possessions are what our hearts are focused on.
Rather, if we focus on treasuring Christ in our hearts, our hearts will glow with the fruits of the Holy Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control - and we will lay up treasure for ourselves in heaven through displaying those fruits as Christians. These treasures will be forever, where moths and rust can't destroy and thieves can't break in and steal them. These treasures please the Lord and are safe with Him for an eternity.
Have an Eternal Perspective on Your Life
I encourage you to develop an eternal perspective on your life, and live your life in the light of eternity. Even though this eternal perspective is future directed, it creates peace and joy in the present and helps you cherish the present all the much more. This perspective also helps you to endure your present sufferings and glorify God through them. If you don't know how to find or develop this perspective, pray to God and simply ask Him for it. He loves when you ask Him for things according to His will! I am also glad to pray for you too. Feel free to send me a prayer request. You do not have, because you do not ask. (James 4:2)
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil things against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:3-12
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:9