In other words there are two ways to live: a life focussed on accumulating things based on worldly measures, or a life where we accumulate things based on heavenly measures.
Jesus summarised his intent concluding, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). In other words, laying up “treasure in heaven” is “seeking first God’s kingdom.”
What this helps us appreciate is that “treasure in heaven” has nothing to do with heaven as a final destination after death, “treasure in heaven” is focused on the God’s rule on earth here and now. Seeking the kingdom is not seeking a home in heaven, nor is it doing good things now so that we have plenty stored up on the next life. No! Storing up “treasure in heaven” is following the rule of God in our lives, our families and our community as our number one priority. These treasures are not divorced from our daily lives, rather it is about seeing the values of the kingdom of God shaping the way we live here and now.
Jesus is clear that can’t strive for both treasures on earth and in heaven. “No one can serve two masters,” he says, you either “hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).
A quick scan across the Church suggests there are many who are unpersuaded by Jesus’ insights and aim for both. Our consumer based society tempts us to “have a bet each way”. But Jesus warns us that material treasure will steal our hearts, and once our affections are earthly focused and material treasures have our hearts we will have no capacity left to pursue spiritual ones.
Jesus places a challenge before us all. What do you treasure? What do you hope for? Where is your heart focussed? Jesus taught we are not to worry but seek his kingdom. Rather than toiling for riches in material things he calls us to be rich in heavenly things.
Perhaps today is a day to check the condition your heart? Where do you think it is set? What would Jesus say?
Stephen L Baxter