Your treasure, your heart? Devotional Commentary for December 6-12
This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us Wisdom and Insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.
And Jesus continued:
19Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
20but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
So far in His teaching, Jesus exhorted us to behave godly and selflessly when we are engaged in charitable deeds, when we pray, and when we fast. He told us to be giving and forgiving. He taught us to be godly and selfless. And now, He confronts us with issues relating to our stewardship and the manner in which we handle our attentions and affections.
Jesus examines the manner in which we handle our treasures and assets. What ambitions do we pursue? How do we manage what God has given to us? He identifies two proverbial repositories where we might lay up our treasures for safe keeping. Both places are consequential.
We can lay up treasures either on earth or in heaven. Treasures stored on earth, says Jesus, would not be preserved. Earthly treasures or assets are consumed by moth and rust. Anything stored away on earth is temporary and is susceptible to theft and corruption. It has no eternal value.
But treasures laid up in heaven are eternal. There are no moths or rust which can subject heavenly assets to earthly decay. There is no theft or corruption in heaven.
Jesus' focus on our stewardship and attitude toward our treasures and assets points to a very significant property of our identity as Christians, our heart. Our heart commits itself to matters it values the most. Accordingly, if we lay up treasures on earth, then our heart would be focus on earthly things. On the contrary, if we lay up treasures in heaven, then our heart focuses its attention on heavenly things, as the Word of God dictates. More significantly however, Jesus shows us how easily we can be wrongly or correctly persuaded by what is important to our heart. So Jesus says to lay up treasures in heaven so that our affections might be set on heavenly things. Heaven is our eternal home with God. We have no business chasing corruptible things of this earth.
The main issue with our devotional life that Jesus continues to address relates to the value we place on our activities as Christians. What do we value the most? What captures our attentions and affections? Where do we invest our passion? What is our ambition? While we cannot sufficiently address such points in a short devotional, it is worth noting that our response to such personal matters can take both a religious or secular posture. But Jesus is emphatic in exhorting us to be Christians in our behaviors and actions even as we are Christians in our position as God's redeemed children.
Jesus warns us not to put our treasures where they can be stolen or corrupted. This is not a stock market advice. Jesus is saying, let not our treasures draw our heart away from God. Both our heart and treasures are safe with God.
Keeping our treasures on earth or in heaven is another way of reasoning the ways we are doing things, self-centered or godly. That is, doing things to satisfy ourselves or to glorify God, just like fasting and praying. Do we fast or pray to gain public attention or to commune with God privately? Jesus implies, if our heart belongs to God, then our attentions and affections must be focused on things in heaven. Whether it is charity, prayer, fasting, or stewardship, we should view God's blessings on us with a heart seeking to serve Him, a spirit that is surrendered to Him, and a soul that is satisfied in glorifying Him with all that we have been given and with all of who we are. We cannot effectively press onward to the finish line while focusing on a perishable treasure that is corruptible and susceptible to decay.