Where Is Your Treasure?
“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" (Matt. 6:19-21).
His counsel, his affectionate entreaty, and his commandment to us his disciples is, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth.” The meaning obviously is, that the disciples of the Lord Jesus, being strangers and pilgrims on earth, i. e. neither belonging to the earth nor expecting to remain in it, should not seek to increase their earthly possessions, in whatever these possessions may consist.
Our Lord says about the earth that it is a place “Where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.” All that is of the earth, and in any way connected with it, is subject to corruption, to change, to dissolution. There is no reality, or substance, in anything else but in heavenly things. Often the careful amassing of earthly possessions ends in losing them in a moment by fire, by robbery, by a change of mercantile concerns, by loss of work, etc.; but suppose all this were not the case, still, yet a little while, and thy soul shall be required of thee; or, yet a little while, and the Lord Jesus will return; and what profit shalt thou then have, dear reader, if thou hast carefully sought to increase thy earthly possessions?
Our Lord, however, does not merely bid us not to lay up treasure upon earth; for if he had said no more, this his commandment might be abused, and persons might find in it an encouragement for their extravagant habits, for their love of pleasure, for their habit of spending everything they have, or can obtain, upon themselves. It does not mean, then, as is the common phrase, that we should “live up to our income;” for he adds, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” There is such a thing as laying up as truly in heaven as there is laying up on earth; if it were not so, our Lord would not have said so. Just as persons put one sum after another into the bank, and it is put down to their credit, and they may use the money afterwards: so truly the penny, the shilling, the pound, the hundred pounds, the ten thousand pounds, given for the Lord’s sake, and constrained by the love of Jesus, to poor brethren, or in any way spent in the work of God, he marks down in the book of remembrance, he considers as laid up in heaven. The money is not lost, it is laid up in the bank of heaven; yet so, that whilst an earthly bank may break, or through earthly circumstances we may lose our earthly possessions, the money which is thus secured in heaven cannot be lost. But this is by no means the only difference. I notice a few more points: Treasures laid up on earth bring along with them many cares; treasures laid up in heaven never give care. Treasures laid up on earth never can afford spiritual joy; treasures laid up in heaven bring along with them peace and joy in the Holy Ghost even now. Treasures laid up on earth, in a dying hour cannot afford peace and comfort, and when life is over they are taken from us; treasures laid up in heaven draw forth thanksgiving that we were permitted and counted worthy to serve the Lord with the means with which he was pleased to intrust us as stewards, and when this life is over we are not deprived of what was laid up there, but when we go to heaven we go to the place where our treasures are, and we shall find them there.
Often we hear it said, when a person has died, he died worth so much. But whatever be the phrases common in the world, it is certain that a person may die worth fifty thousand pounds sterling, as the world reckons, and yet that individual may not possess, in the sight of God, one thousand pounds sterling, because he was not rich towards God, he did not lay up treasure in heaven. And so, on the other hand, we can suppose a man of God falling asleep in Jesus, and his surviving widow finding scarcely enough left behind him to suffice for the funeral, who was nevertheless rich towards God: in the sight of God he may possess five thousand pounds sterling, he may have laid up that sum in heaven. Dear reader, does your soul long to be rich towards God, to lay up treasures in heaven? The world passes away, and the lust thereof. Yet a little while and our stewardship will be taken from us. At present we have the opportunity of serving the Lord with our time, our talents, our bodily strength, our gifts; and also with our property; but shortly this opportunity may cease. Oh, how shortly may it cease! Before ever this is read by any one, I may have fallen asleep; and the very next day after you have read this, dear reader, you may fall asleep; and, therefore, whilst we have the opportunity, let us serve the Lord.
The Lord lastly adds: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Where should the heart of the disciple of the Lord Jesus be, but in heaven? Our calling is a heavenly calling, our inheritance is a heavenly inheritance, and reserved for us in heaven; our citizenship is in heaven; but if we believers in the Lord Jesus lay up treasures on earth, the necessary result of it is, that our hearts will be upon earth; nay, the very fact of our doing so proves that they are there! Nor will it be otherwise, till there be a ceasing to lay up treasures upon earth. The believer who lays up treasures upon earth may, at first, not live openly in sin, he in a measure may yet bring some honor to the Lord in certain things; but the injurious tendencies of this habit will show themselves more and more, whilst the habit of laying up treasures in heaven would draw the heart more and more heavenward; would be continually strengthening his new, his divine nature, his spiritual faculties, because it would call his spiritual faculties into use, and thus they would be strengthened; and he would more and more, whilst yet in the body, have his heart in heaven, and set upon heavenly things; and thus the laying up treasures in heaven would bring along with it, even in this life, precious spiritual blessings as a reward of obedience to the commandment of our Lord. - George Muller