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.
My post, Living In Your Paneled House, dealt with the words of the prophet Haggai. He was addressing the people of Israel after their return from captivity in Babylon. The Old Testament Book of Haggai starts by him admonishing the Jews for taking care of their personal homes while neglecting the rebuilding of the Lord’s temple. Haggai was letting all people who hear his words know that they must take care of their spiritual house, which is our spiritual self, which is the house of the Lord.
Matthew chapters five, six and seven are referred to as Christ’s “Sermon on the Mount”. Christ, through his teaching and deeds, had gathered a great following. One day, as the crowds had gathered, he moved to the highest point above the crowd and proceeded to simply give us the path to righteousness and a righteous life. And here in chapter 6 verses 19 through 21, Christ is telling us the same thing as Haggai had written almost 500 years earlier.
Christ is telling us how to live a righteous life as an individual. Through telling us how to live as a righteous individual, Christ is also telling us that the individual is paramount to a righteous life and righteous world. I will delve into the idea of the individual and its importance in later posts.
In the verses from Matthew cited at the beginning of this post, Christ is telling us to lay up for yourself treasures in heaven for they are eternal. Treasures on earth will only last a finite amount of time and then be gone.
You may say, “Well, what about gold and diamonds? They are practically indestructible.” The truth is they only have value because others assess a value for you. If you were cold and starving and no one else was in sight, these precious things would have zero value to a lone individual just trying to survive. There’s no one to trade with for shelter and food. It is only when others are involved that covetousness begins to surface.
What value are these precious commodities to the individual when they are dead and gone? It’s zero, nothing. What was once almost as precious as life, and to some even more precious than life, has no value to its departed owner.
So, what are the treasures that you lay up for yourself in heaven? The treasures in heaven would be those that have meaning to you if you were the only person, the only individual. What would truly matter to you then? Wealth and power would mean nothing, for there would be no one to compare them to. You have no one to covet what you have and there is no one for you to covet what they have. Now the playing field is level.
In Matthew 6 verses 19 through 21, as in Haggai 1 verse 44, Christ is telling us to strip away all the worldly treasures, worldly desires, and with them goes all the sin. We are to see ourselves as a lone individual, a responsible individual, seeking a righteous life. By doing so you will find God in your heart.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
A heart full of worldly treasures has no room for God.
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