Jesus Christ told us to lay up treasures in heaven. But what does it really mean? Do you have the deep understanding of what Christ demands from us? In this post, let us study Matthew 6:19-21 and see how we can obtain heavenly treasures that last FOREVER!
You probably heard the saying, “You can’t bring it with you.”
For most people, this declaration can mean differently. It could be used as a reminder or a source of comfort.
When I hear these words, I usually reminded of the passage written by one of the Apostles of Yahshua/Jesus Christ. Though written thousands of years ago, its profound meaning still rings true today.
“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).
Such a POWERFUL statement from no other than our Savior and Master, Jesus Christ.
Though this verse is somewhat popular among Christians today, only a few really grasp its deep and valuable meaning.
What does it mean to lay up treasures in heaven?
This is the question that we will answer through this blog.
What is your treasure?
We are commanded by Jesus that we should NOT lay up for ourselves treasures on earth.
The first thing we should ask, what is the treasure that we hold so dear?
According to Thayer’s definition, the Greek word for treasure in this verse is thesauros. It refers to “the place in which good and precious things are collected and laid up.” It could be “a casket, coffer, or other receptacle, in which valuables are kept.”
Treasure, in this context, is simply material wealth. It can be money, precious stones, possessions, and other properties. It can be any possession that we hold valuable to us.
Why must we not lay up treasures on earth?
Matthew 6:19 gives us the reason why we must not lay up treasures on earth:
“Where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.”
Here’s the wisdom that we must all take heed.
Christ is telling us that it is in vain to lay up treasures on earth. Why? Because of the mere fact that they are just temporary.
If our main goal in this life is to accumulate treasures on earth – to gather as much material wealth as possible – then we are making the BIGGEST mistake of our life.
Jesus would later add:
“For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul” (Matthew 16:26)?
There’s no doubt: our earthly treasures are subject to decay.
They will NEVER last forever.
There will always be “moth” and “rust” that will destroy our property. The soonest a beautiful palace is built, the soonest it will start to decay. Even the most amazing and astounding masterpiece ever made by the human hand will eventually lose its original glory.
Now, moth and rust are not just the things you need to worry about. You also have to protect your wealth from thieves. For it is inevitable for treasures to attract criminals and evil people.
I was reminded of a quote that perfectly describes the problem of wealthy people:
“The richer you get, the more people will help you… spend your money.”
It sounds ironic, but it’s true.
So, even if you evaded moth and rust, which is tremendously difficult, you need to deal with “thieves” in the form of criminals, fire, flood, war, natural or man-made disasters, illnesses, and death.
WORST OF ALL, the moth, rust, and thief can be YOU. Riches and worldly glory can make a person proud, haughty, and rude.
WEALTH can potentially corrupt a person’s character. We all know of someone who became a different person just because he was given wealth and power.
So, you don’t have to watch out for the things that destroy from the outside, but you also need to watch out the things that destroy from the inside.
Why must we lay up treasures in heaven?
Thankfully, Jesus Christ did not simply tell us what we must NOT do, but he added what WE MUST DO.
“But LAY UP FOR YOURSELVES TREASURES IN HEAVEN, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
Nothing can be clearer than that. Our Lord and Master wants us to lay up treasures in heaven.
Because heavenly treasures are ETERNAL!
Moth and rust can’t corrupt it. Thieves can’t steal it. Calamities can’t destroy it.
In other words, our treasures in heaven are safe in the hands of Yah/God.
II Corinthians 4:18 plainly tells us:
“While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are TEMPORARY, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Now, the question is:
“Which will you choose, earthly treasures which are temporary or heavenly treasures which are eternal?”
Obviously, we want the eternal treasure. However, how many times in our lives have we put more importance on our earthly treasures?
We look at our car, house, money, electronic gadgets, and other material possessions as permanent. They are the things that we can see, hold, and smell. Our human mind fools us into thinking that they are the ones that will last forever.
So, what do we do? We spend countless hours, day in day out, chasing the wrong things in life. We work seven days a week just to live the “life we always dreamed of.”
We tell ourselves, “If only I have this and that, I’ll be happy. I’ll be satisfied.”
But when we finally get what we want, we still feel empty. We continue in our never ending pursuit for material things and look for other things that can satisfy our hunger and thirst.
Jim Carrey was quoted to say, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”
Here’s the truth: there’s an empty hole in our hearts. Material things can’t fill it. Only the spiritual things that we get from God can fill the void.
Is it wrong to obtain material wealth?
If we are admonished to lay up treasures in heaven, then is it wrong to accumulate material possessions?
The answer to this question is NO.
God, Himself, promised that He will bless us and will give the desires of our hearts when we delight in Him (Psalms 34:7). One form of those blessings is material wealth.
The key to understanding the message of Christ is found in verse 21. It tells us:
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Yahshua, or popularly known as Jesus Christ, is telling us that the heart follows your treasure. Wherever your treasure is, there your heart will be.
There’s no problem in aiming to better your life. One of the reasons that Christ came to earth is to give us life and to have life more ABUNDANTLY (John 10:10).
Our goal is to follow God. The treasures that God gives us should not be the end of itself, but only the means to an end.
The material possessions that we have must be used for the glory of God. It must not be used for our selfish ambition.
There’s nothing wrong with working hard to earn a living. But it becomes a problem when you don’t have time anymore for prayer, Bible study, and fasting just because you are too busy chasing your earthly materials.
There’s nothing wrong with having a beautiful house or a brand new car. But it becomes a problem when you idolize these materials.
There’s nothing wrong with having so much money. But it becomes a problem when you put your trust in your bank account instead of God.
I hope you get the idea already.
If we put more importance on worldly materials, then that’s the time when we must remember the admonition of Christ to lay up treasures in heaven rather than on earth.
How do we lay up treasures in heaven?
Now that we see the importance of laying up treasures in heaven, the natural question is, “How do we do this?”
This blog isn’t enough to give you a detailed answer. But let me just give you a summary statement from our Master.
“If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:21).
Here’s a powerful statement of Christ. If you want to have treasures in heaven, you must “sell what you have and give to the poor.” He also added, “FOLLOW ME.”
The verse here isn’t saying that we must sell ALL that we have. The young ruler here had an attitude problem. He idolized his possessions to the point that he became greedy. He forgot to help the poor and do what is good.
In short, his heart is trapped in his earthly treasure.
If we want to obtain heavenly treasures, we must be ready to make sacrifices. We need to do what God commands us to do. We must always be about our Father’s business.
Finally, Jesus said to follow Him!
If we dedicate our whole life following in Jesus’ footstep, we can obtain heavenly treasures that no one can take away from us. All the good things we have done for the glory of God will be written in the book of remembrance (Malachi 3:16).
Even if you combine all the wealth in this world, they would be NOTHING compared to the treasure we accumulate in heaven.
I hope you now have a deeper understanding of what it really means to lay up treasures in heaven.
Jim Elliot once said:
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
Yahweh/God expects us to put Him first in our lives (Matthew 6:33). We must not exchange the things that are eternal for something that’s temporary. We must always focus on the reward that is laid for us at the end of our Christian race.
So, be strong. Keep the faith. Do what is right and you will surely have treasures in heaven!