“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven… (Matthew 6:19a, 20a NRSV)
It’s been a little over a year since I was ordained into Christian Ministry. I can still remember the service like it was yesterday. Every time I hear the hymns I selected in worship, I get chills running up and down my spine. Every time I open the Bible I was given, I give thanks to God for the people in my life who helped shepherd me to the place where I was able to say “yes” to my calling. I can still remember much of what the people said that day too.
Specifically, I remember what the Elder of Azle Christian Church spoke as he recommended me for ordination. Through his presentation of how they helped me grow from a bumbling mess of “ummms” and uncertainty in my authority to one who was ostensibly ready for the rigors of congregational ministry, he touched on a question many of us ask: “Have we really made a difference?” Has what we done counted for anything? Do we count for something or to someone? The longing of our hearts is to live a life that matters.
Jesus talks about storing up treasures for yourself in heaven, not on earth. He reminds us that this life can be fleeting and any number of things can come in and take away what we’ve worked for. Add floods, market recessions, long-term sickness, car accidents to his of moths, rust, and thieves. The treasure we store up on earth is never quite protected. It can never be fully secure. But his advice (or command) isn’t about financial planning or investing in the right markets: it’s about the things we value.
We try and fill up the storehouses of hearts with money, security, and opportunity when none of these things can really satisfy the longing of our hearts. They are fleeting. They can be taken away in an instant and they often are. If we get down to the very basic level, we try and find meaning in our treasures, but often our eyes are on earthly treasures, not Kingdom ones.
The great preacher Tom Long puts it this way “[We want] to come to the end of a day–or the end of a life–with the satisfaction of having stood for what is good, with the joy of having been loved and having loved well in return, with the memory of having shown mercy, and with the peace of having walked with God–these are the true treasures, the treasures of the kingdom, a fortune no thief can plunder.”
Throughout the life and teachings of Jesus (and in this instance the Sermon on the Mount), we find what God treasures:relationships, forgiveness, mercy, healing, service. Might our lives reflect these Kingdom treasures and may we store them up day after day. Might the longing of our hearts be satisfied in Christ.
Thanks be to God.