Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:19-24, Proverbs 28:22, Luke 12:13-21, Ephesians 5:5, 1 Timothy 6:17-19
Look around you and consider this: it will all make a good bonfire some day.
Somewhere along the line, that little catchphrase got filed in my heart. I find it equal parts jarring and comforting. Jarring because so much of what I’ve spent my life building is destined to pass away. Comforting because I have assurance that the laundry that needs folding and the bills that need to be paid and the floors that need mopping won’t be going with me into eternity. (Amen!)
Jesus is not anti-treasure. He’s the one who buried diamonds in the caves of Africa and gold in the mountains of Colorado. He also buried a craving for treasure deep inside our hearts. He wants us to be treasure hunters. But the kind of treasure we’re hunting matters. Here, Jesus helps us see that all that shines and glitters must be lumped into one of two categories. Only two. There is no third option.
“Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19).
Category number one is perishable treasure. Anything you’ve ever bought or built with your own two hands is perishable. Your home, your car, your 401K? Perishable, perishable, perishable. Your wardrobe, your appearance, your accolades and attagirls? Those are all perishable too. So much of our lives is destined to make a good bonfire some day. As we picture the ashes, we are tempted to wonder, What’s left?
Answer: the imperishable.
“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal” (v. 20).
What are these heavenly treasures? God’s Word points us to three things that will last forever: the Word of God (Isaiah 40:8), the people of God (John 3:16), and the kingdom of God (Psalm 45:6). Every penny, every second we invest in these things is untouchable, locked away in a heavenly vault. It cannot rot or rust. It cannot be stolen. It can never be taken away.
Jesus spoke about money and possessions often, but He never branded them as evil, just perishable. As we keep listening to the Sermon on the Mount we see the real reason we need these frequent reminders.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (v. 21).
You see, it’s not the treasure Christ is concerned about; it’s our hearts. He knows that worshiping our possessions will destroy us (v. 24). Our hearts will begin to rot long before our belongings do. He warns us to “take care and be on [our] guard against all covetousness” (Luke 12:15), not because He is worried we might amass too much treasure. We can’t begin to acquire enough riches to match His. He simply knows the moment is coming when our possessions will go up in smoke. We can buy insurance for our stuff, but Jesus is offering us insurance for our hearts.
Go ahead and buy the new dress you found on sale. Pick out new granite countertops. Keep folding that endless pile of laundry, but know that a day is coming when God will stack all of our belongings together for kindling and strike a match (2 Peter 3:10). As we watch our earthly treasure turn to ashes, may we celebrate our investment in the riches that can never be taken from us.
Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.