We are in a series of messages where we are examining the hard sayings of Jesus. Some of Jesus’ sayings are hard to understand, some are hard to hear, but some are just hard to do. Today’s saying falls into that category. In Matthew 6:19, Jesus commands: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…” Jesus’ point here is really pretty simple. He is saying, “Heaven, not earth, should be your goal. We are here for just a little while. Why would you store things in a place where you are just passing through?” But there is something inside all of us that wants to store things. Jesus says, “Hey, that’s ok, just store them in the right place.”
Based on the rest of Scripture, Jesus is not saying that we need to take a vow of poverty. We know this from both the Old and New Testament (Proverbs 10:4, Job 42:12, Ephesians 4:28). Throughout the Bible, wealth is a blessing from God upon those who work hard. Money isn’t the issue. The issue is our attitude towards it: what we do with it and where we store it. Jesus is saying that, as his followers, it should be obvious by how we handle money that heaven— not earth—is our goal. Jesus makes it clear that where we store things is a heart issue. He teaches that where our treasure is, our heart is (Matthew 6:21). Living in a materialistic culture, the pull of our heart is to get, get, get…more, more, more…and then store, store, store. Only by generosity can we loosen the grip that materialism has on our lives.
If you are going to learn to store up treasures in heaven, Jesus says that you first and foremost need to cultivate a generous heart. And next, you need to work towards living a focused life. In verses 19-21, Jesus is talking about money. And then in verses 21-23, he is talking about eyes and lamps, light and darkness. And then he talks about money again in verse 24. While on the surface they may seem unrelated, they are not. In verse 22, Jesus states, “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.” In other words, when you are focused on storing up treasures in heaven, it is like lighting a lamp with a match and suddenly, that lamp illuminates everything. And your whole life will be filled with light because you are on the right path.
But the opposite is also true. Verse 23: “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” Jesus is saying, “If you are not focused on eternity, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light that you think you have is really darkness, then how great is that darkness. You think you are seeing clearly, but you are not. So, you will just keep heading down that dangerous path.”
Then Jesus makes this hard saying even harder with this last saying in Matthew 6:19-24: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Jesus is teaching that if you want to store up treasures in heaven and not on earth, then don’t be enslaved to money! If money is your master, then God is not. Three attitudes help us as we struggle with this hard saying:
Give Jesus your heart. Jesus is generous, and until you understand that, you are not going to be generous. When you receive God’s love, it changes everything. When you receive his love and his forgiveness, it changes your outlook. It will turn you from a stingy person into a generous person, because treasure and heart go together.
Give to God first. When you get paid, give a percentage of that back to God and his church. When you give to God first what are you saying? You are saying, God, first and foremost you have my heart, not money. It is impossible to say that you serve money, if you give to God first. When you give to God first it loosens the grip of materialism. Your heart grows. Your generosity grows. Your walk with Christ grows.
Leverage your earthly resources for heavenly gain. Ask yourself, “How can I use the things that I have for heavenly gain?” We all have things that we can leverage in ministry to others. That is a great way to store up treasures in heaven.
Church, we are not going to be here long. We are just passing though. Let’s don’t store up treasures here on earth. Let’s store them up in heaven!
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- Give Jesus your heart.
- If you would like to know God personally, contact us here (connect.tcc.org) Scroll down to the Ministry Information Request section and mark the first or second checkbox. We look forward to helping!
- Give to God first.
- Leverage your earthly resources for heavenly gain.
TAKE ONE STEP
Each week, write down one doable concrete step of obedience, small or large that you will put into practice this week. (James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”)