Contributors to this passage
Treasure- something of value. Quite unlikely that God does not want us to enjoy the treasures here on earth – even though they may be temporary. The caution from Jesus here as I see it is, if and when i would start laying up earthly treasures for myself. When I am motivated to accumulate more treasure, all of them earthly and tangible…that’s when I’d be headed for trouble. That motivation would come from greed. But if I am there, would I be able to recognise my own greed, so to avoid dire consequences?
Jesus clearly instructs, ‘do not accumulate treasures on earth’. Instead, ‘lay up heavenly treasures’. Now, what i need to discover is not only what the heavenly treasures are, but learn how to accumulate them. For now, I imagine them things I will not want to have a hold on here on earth, the intangibles, what I have, but enjoy giving myself of.
Having said that, it certainly seemed a time of test for me. In fact, I had already begun to grow anxious of my own financial cash flow. That particular week (after the discussion)when I contemplated, I found I had to resist the magnetism of choosing the easy way out, wanting a laid back and cushy life. At that point in time, the options I had were surprisingly appealing. Yet, I had to deal with issues of contentment, lack of faith and insecurity.
In Chee Leong’s message one Sunday he shared, “Exercise your responsibilities but do not be obsessed with accumulating wealth”. And from Matthew 6:32 Jesus was quoted, “Your heavenly Father knows your needs.” That stayed with me for a few days until I began to learn to trust in Him in a new way. That trust enabled me to see the line between ‘responsibility’ and ‘obsession’ better.
Treasures in heaven: If it hadn’t been pointed out David, I wouldn’t have known of the possible connection about the rewards from giving the needy, by prayer and fasting. It did make a lot of sense.
What I kept on wondering earlier was, if God wanted us to lay up treasures in heaven, it would also be something of much value that He would first claim as His treasure too. Heavenly treasure... so, if it’s something so good, can I say that God allows me to enjoy it first that I may recognise what it is…in hope that I can learn how to respond? I have indeed enjoyed many things I know comes from Him: I recognise the abundant love He gives me…
So what would He claim as treasure? What would be the most valuable thing He would want to keep in heaven?
Perhaps Jim Eliot’s story draws yet another inspiration...the most valuable possession God would have in His kingdom would be us. Our lives. So would laying up heavenly treasures simply mean to offer our lives back continuously to Him? Intangible, invaluable and lasting. To the extent of giving up our lives for Him like Eliot? A very tall order, that…and reason why it was pleasant (and a relief) to learn this unworthy soul can learn how to do these better for now: provide for those in need, pray, fast!
Jesus warns against storing up what cannot last, temporary, for they will decay. And if I still choose to pursue worldly treasures, the guarantee He gives is “there will your heart be”. I will inevitably end up in a state of decay.
To avoid the dire consequences, I’d want to avoid from being greedy for starters – not getting engrossed with what I do not have, knowing what my needs are, paying less and less attention to my wants. And if I don’t stop accumulating heavenly treasures, if I don’t stop being of service for Him in all ways possible, chances are I will be able to avoid myself from covetousness and greed.