Jesus teaches us that we should be storing treasures in Heaven, rather than here on earth. What does that mean?
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. (Matthew 6:19-21)
When we talk about treasure in today’s world, sometimes we’re talking about money. But more often we’re using terms like wealth, financial security. And even for those who are shrewd and able to generate large amounts of wealth, it’s not necessarily love for the money. It could be love for the work, or prestige.
Not everyone can relate to the treasure of monetary wealth.
But everyone, at some point in their lives, has held onto something dearly. A personal possession or collection of possessions they intended to keep for life. Items that may not even be monetarily valuable but are priceless to that person. For some, things may be valuable for an unknown reason, where the accumulation of stuff is the treasure itself.
Treasure is not defined by worth, but by value. What you value is your treasure. And value can be intensely personal.
So when Jesus tells us we need to be storing treasures in Heaven, he’s not just referring to giving up things that we value, although that’s part of it. Jesus invites us to value what He values. What He values is so intensely personal to Him that He sacrificed Himself to attain it – our salvation.
What are Treasures in Heaven?
Let’s understand what treasures in Heaven are by first confirming what they are not. Storing treasures in Heaven is not works performed to obtain salvation. Christ’s once-and-for-all sacrifice was entirely sufficient to pay the penalty for our sins. There’s nothing you can do to increase its effectiveness or completeness.
But what the Bible does tell us is that for authentic followers of Christ, what we do in this life will be judged before we enter into our eternal rest. If we have been storing treasure in Heaven, this is where we will understand it at that time. We may be surprised by some things that appear, as we may not have seen the fruit that came from some of our actions for Him.
It could be as small as giving a cold cup of water to a person in His name (Mark 9:41). Essentially, anything we do that brings glory and honor to Jesus Christ could result in storing treasures in Heaven.
These “good acts” are only possible by abiding with Christ and allowing His fruit to be born in our lives. So, like our salvation, we cannot take personal credit for it. And yet we will be rewarded for it all the same. God loves to bless His children any time they act according to His will.
Given the times Christ tells us about those being last will be first, I think we may all be surprised at some of the people who will have Bill Gates’ sized treasures stored in Heaven.
What will we do with those treasures? I am not sure. There is a passage in Revelation that sees a group of people in Heaven removing their crowns and putting them at Jesus’ feet (Revelation 4:10-11). Perhaps we will all do the same.
Changing our Perspective on Treasure
Storing treasures in Heaven is not simply trading up from gathering temporary treasure on earth. It is reorienting our entire perspective to want what God wants and accomplish what God wishes to accomplish (Colossians 3:1-3).
When we come to Christ in repentance and turn our lives over to Him, we become future citizens of Heaven. Our life on this earth is a blip compared to eternity (James 4:14). It stands to reason that storing treasure in Heaven has infinitely more value.
It also goes to show the importance of how we prioritize our time, our talents, and our wealth here on earth.
I always weep at the end of the movie Schindler’s List, where Oskar Schindler breaks down, calculating how many more Jews he could have rescued with all the wealth he had wasted. This in spite of the over 1,100 souls he had already saved from certain death at the hands of the Nazis.
Even beyond the obvious reasons that would bring a viewer to tears, I picture myself doing the same thing one day in Heaven. What if I had shared the gospel with one more person? It is a terrible feeling that I want to do everything I can to avoid.
But I don’t want to be storing treasures in Heaven to avoid the pain of regret. I want Christ’s love to so permeate me that I want to do it because it is what He considers valuable.
The Call to Store Treasures in Heaven
As Jesus illustrates in today’s passage, storing treasures here on earth is futile. Do you even need me to say “you can’t take it with you”?
While I’m not saying that you must take a vow of poverty to be a Christian, I can understand why some might feel led to do so.
In the Bible we are told of a rich young ruler who wanted to follow Jesus. He was told to sell all he had and give it all away, and then he would have treasure in Heaven (Matthew 19:16-22). It’s a story we’re all familiar with. Therefore, it might be tempting to see it as an example for us to learn from, rather than an action recommended for us.
However, in a passage similar to the one we are looking at today, Luke records some additional words of Jesus: “Sell your possessions and give to those in need” (Luke 12:33).
Was Jesus being allegorical? When you consider the sacrificial life Christ repeatedly calls us to, taking that as a literal direction isn’t so far-fetched.
I am not suggesting you take one particular action or the other. What I am saying is to consider the value in giving up some temporary comforts towards storing treasures in Heaven. Allow the teachings and commands of Christ to challenge you to what a life surrendered to Christ looks like for you. And like Paul, count everything you “lose” here on earth as gain for Christ (Philippians 3:7-8).
More Bible verses about storing treasures in Heaven:
Proverbs 19:17; Micah 6:8; Luke 6:38; 1 Corinthians 3:6-8; 1 Timothy 6:17-19; Hebrews 6:9-12; Revelation 22:12-13