Where do you store your treasure? – Part 1
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,… but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”
Christ’s exhortation concerning our treasures is two-fold – negative and positive. The word, “treasures,” is very broad and all-inclusive, meaning wealth, costly things such as property, lands, gold and precious stones, as well as possession, including money. Here, our Lord warns us against confining our ambition, interests and pre-occupation to this life.
Everyone needs this exhortation because we all have treasures in some shape or form. The poor and the rich, the young and the old all have treasures they can lay up either on earth or in heaven. The first part of Christ’s command teaches us not to lay or store our treasures on earth, and gives us the reason for the teaching. The second part instructs us where to lay or keep our treasures and He gives us reasons for the instruction.
Those who lay up treasures for themselves on earth are thinking of their future on earth. Those who lay up treasures for themselves in heaven are thinking and planning for their future in heaven. Both are thinking of the future, but one is earth-bound while the other is heaven-bound. One is foolish because his labour and treasures will perish with the earth; the other is wise because his labour is eternally rewardable and his treasures are imperishable in heaven.
From the earliest of times, from the time of Jacob in Genesis, the term, treasure, had been identified with money. Other passages or references of Scripture identify treasure as riches, wealth, possession, produce of the farmer’s field for sale, profit or gain through labour, monetary reward of labour, silver and gold, gifts and inheritance.
In ancient times, treasures also included clothes or changes of raiment, as well as gold, silver, gems, lands and oil. It meant anything possessed, which could be used to provide present and future comfort or convenience in life. Men often lay up these treasures – money, earthly possessions – like Achan hid the “goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight” or like the treasure of “goodly pearls of great price” “hid in a field.”
Here, our Lord cautions us against hoarding our money or other valuable possessions, when there are needs to be met all around us. Laying up treasures for ourselves on earth is an evidence that our hope, faith and trust are in our wealth and riches. Though we must provide for the present and future needs of our family (2 Corinthians 12:14; 1 Timothy 5:8), but we must not put our hope or trust in riches (Job 31:24-28; Mark 10:24,25).
Further Reading (King James Version): Matthew 6:19-21; Matthew 6:19-21; Genesis 43:19-23; Proverbs 15:16; 21:6; Ecclesiastes 2:8-10; Isaiah 30:6,7; Jeremiah 41:8; 48:7; 49:4; Acts 8:27; James 5:1-3; Hebrews 11:24-26.
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