“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.Matthew 6:19-20 ESV
The focus of the last three passages has been on engaging our hearts in giving, praying, and fasting. Jesus now sums up these three points by connecting the three spiritual disciplines with the idea of spiritual treasure. A treasure that is being stored up for us in heaven as we put them into practice and engage our hearts with our service. The contrast is that we are not to focus on building worldly wealth as a substitute for a humble dependence upon God. We can be wealthy and be blessed by the Lord both financially and materially, but we are not to trust in our wealth by any means. We are not to look to our wealth and physical resources as a source of security. Our only source of hope and security comes from God alone and he is concerned with our eternal soul and the storing up of treasure in heaven where he is and where he will bring us.
I have always struggled with the worldly side of life and have been too wrapped up in the material at times to truly appreciate this passage. I feel as though my most difficult struggle in life has revolved around these two areas of conflict. Am I going to place my complete faith and trust in Jesus or am I going to vacillate with a doubleminded approach to life? I find myself waxing and waning between these two points. I desire to lay up treasure in heaven by seeking Jesus with all of my heart and mind, but the pull of the world and the worry of financial responsibility cause me to stumble quite a bit. When times of plenty come into my life, I lose perspective and begin to focus on the gain of resources instead of the giver of those resources. When times of wanting arrive, I find myself at odds with God and question his very love for me. Worldly treasure has a way of drawing out the alternative idols of worship that I secretly hold onto.
I don’t even realize the stranglehold that the material world has on my heart until I am tested in these areas. I have come to appreciate the lean times as they have a natural way of drawing me closer to Jesus. Pushing me to Jesus would be a more appropriate word for this. It is in these times of poverty that I more clearly see the poverty of my spirit and my need for the One who is in authority. These times of want and need reveal my weakness and have, over the years, taught me to seek Jesus more intentionally.
It’s the times of plenty where I still struggle. It is in the moments of God blessing me and giving me more than I know what to do with that my heart has a tendency to swell up with pride and arrogance. It is in these times of plenty that I relax and sit back to enjoy the treasure being laid up for me on the earth. I slowly transfer a portion of my trust away from God alone and give some to this treasure. Having the means to provide for my every want tempts me to take control and portion out the treasure as I see fit instead of seeking the purposes of God in the treasure he has given to me.
So in all of this, it is about storing up treasure in heaven at all times. During times of need or times of plenty, my focus should simply be on the building up of eternal treasure through the spiritual disciplines. Having my heart’s motivation grounded in the pursuit of Jesus alone and nothing else. If I am focused on how to best demonstrate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, then I will be building up eternal treasure with Jesus in heaven. A treasure that I will one day be able to view and then place before the feet of Christ as an offering of thanksgiving to my Savior. On that day, I will see the true poverty of my soul and the beautiful richness of God’s grace and mercy.