Lay Up Treasures in Heaven

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” ~ Matthew 6:19-21.

Our attitude to wealth should be such that we are not seeking to live to gain money and possessions. Our heart is where our treasure is, and that should be in spiritual things. We also need simplicity to look honestly at the darkness inside us and let Jesus dealt with it!

“do not lay up” (v.19) — This usually means to stop an act that is already in progress. The desire of fallen humanity is to try to provide, by means of their own resources, all that is needed for a happy life. However, true happiness and success are found only in dependence on God and contentment in what He has provided.

“treasures” — In the ancient world wealth emanated from three sources: (1) clothing, (2) food stuffs, and (3) precious metals or jewels. Each of these items may either be destroyed or stolen. Moths will attack clothing. Rust is from the root “to eat” or metaphorically “eat away” or “corrode” and was used of pests eating food. Stealing referred to robbery of precious metals, jewels, or the other two items. Basically this means that all of our worldly possessions are vulnerable. If one’s happiness depends on possessions, one could lose them at any moment. The false concept that contentment and happiness are found in physical things is stated in Luke 12:15.

“destroy” — The term meant “disfigure” (Matt. 6:16), “to cause to disappear” (cf. Matt. 6:20, Acts 13:41; James 4:14). Every material thing is subject to decay or loss.

“thieves break in and steal” — The term “break in” literally was “dig through.” Many homes of this period had mud walls. In the Greek language, the word for “robber” was from the compound term “mud digger.”

“but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (v.20) — This is essentially referring to spiritual attitudes and actions. 1 Timothy 6:17-19 beautifully expresses the same concept. God Himself protects our heavenly treasure (see 1 Peter 1:4-5).

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (v.21) — This section teaches the transitory nature of earthly things and the eternal nature of spiritual things. It also emphasizes that where one puts one’s interest, resources, and energy truly reveals one’s priorities. The heart (a Hebrew idiom) is the center of the person. It expresses the totality of one’s self.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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