The Gospel of Matthew: Treasures in Heaven. Part 2.

19 “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.” (Matthew 6:19–20 ESV)

Do not lay up (θησαυρίζω; theaurizo) is a present active command from God. It means to store up or save up (Luke 12:21; 1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 12:14; James 5:3; 2 Peter 3:7). In other words, Jesus said “do not treasure.”

What is it that disciples of Jesus Christ are not to treasure? Jesus said “do not treasure treasures (θησαυρός; thesaurus). Jesus used both the verb and noun form of the word. The Greek word thesaurus is where we derive the English word Thesaurus; a reference book, or treasury, of English synonyms.  

The treasures Jesus had in mind belonged to our earthly existence. They are the treasures belonging exclusively to this life on earth. These would include, but not limited to the following: money, possessions, cars, clothes, houses, land and investments. Jesus did not say that possessions were wrong, but to treasure them and to live for them is; because it is a form of idolatry.

The reason to not treasure earthly treasures is two-fold. They decay and they can be stolen. Decay involves consuming insects that eat clothing (βρῶσις; brosis). They destroy (ἀφανίζω; aphanizo) meaning to rust, tarnish and corrode. Treasures can also be stolen by thieves who break into one’s home and take what does not belong to them. Smash and grab is not just a 21st century social problem.

The primary reason to not treasure earthly treasures is because they detract from an exclusive worship of God. It can occur subtly over a period of time but what we possess can slowly begin to possess us and become a god. This violates the first commandment (Ex. 20:

“The inner essence of worship is treasuring Jesus as infinitely valuable above everything. The outer forms of worship are the acts that show how much we treasure God. Therefore, all of life is meant to be worship because God said whether you eat or drink or whatever you do — all of life — do it all to show how valuable the glory of God is to you (1 Cor. 10:31),” explains Pastor John Piper.

“Money and possessions are a big part of life, and therefore God intends them to be a big part of worship. So the way we worship with our money and our possessions is to get them and use them and lose them in a way that shows how much we treasure Jesus, not money.”

Have a blessed day in the Lord. May each of us as believers strive to love the Lord and people and use things rather than love things and use the Lord and people. It makes a difference.

Soli deo Gloria!

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