In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave 3 illustrations about priorities in life. We’ll look at one each day this week.
“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 ESV)
Here, Jesus is talking about our priorities when it comes to material possessions and money. Long ago, but applicable today. Tax season – many make decisions to prioritize savings, debt payments, retirement, RESP, TFSA or RRSP, charitable donations. Which ones you choose are all questions of priorities.
Note: Three things to note Jesus doesn’t have a problem with:
• Jesus does not forbid private property. He loves when people share it, but nowhere forbids it.
• Does not forbid prudent savings. Bible encourages those who make provision for their family’s needs.
• Does not tell us to hate material things. So heavenly minded you are no earthly good.
What he does not condone is selfishness. Laying up treasures “for yourselves”.
The reason for this is simple – you can’t take it with you. Friend: There are no Uhauls at funerals.
Have friends who lived with two hoarders for 20 years. When they moved out, my friend wrote this, “ We are receiving our THIRD dumpster delivery today, which we need just to remove Mom’s junk from the house so we can think of how to dispose of the supposedly “valuable” stuff. (And believe us, even the valuable stuff isn’t THAT valuable. And NONE of it is anywhere near worth the amount of money spent to KEEP it! It is absolutely crazy.
And what we are learning about “stuff”, and our family and their neuroses, and our society, is depressing.
But that is the nature of stuff. In fact, it is all worthless, bound to rot and become dust. But because some human values it, it suddenly is “worth” something. No THING has an intrinsic value. Too bad we didn’t all value each other as much as we value our stuff.” Just last week, saw pictures online of yet another dumpster clearing out yet another of her mother’s storage units – they’ve now used 6 dumpsters to handle 12 tons of junk.
The word Jesus used for rust really means something gets eaten away, and could have applied to mice eating your grain, moths eating your clothes, worms eating your meat, thieves stealing, or rusting metal all the same. Today, it would apply to the depreciation on your brand new vehicle.
Think of those whose wealth was tied up in US real estate before the US subprime mortgage crisis – they thought they have a valuable asset, but quickly realized it could lose a huge portion of its value in mere months. Material things are easy to trust, but are ultimately empty.
But we keep convincing ourselves that these things do matter – lines like, “He who dies with the most toys wins.”
We want to be careful what we invest in, because we only have so much time on this earth, and unfortunately so many things we do and need day to day on this earth, have no lasting value.
But not everything!
There are things we do here that do last for eternity – treasure in heaven.
See what that is, later this week.
Question: What is earthly treasure compared to heavenly treasure? How are earthly treasures temporary and unsatisfying where heavenly treasures are lasting and satisfying?