HEAVENLY VS EARTHY TREASURES – Matthew 6


Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also.

Matthew 6:19‭-‬21 ASV

Christians must curb the acquisitive and hoarding instincts.

Jesus said,

“Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Luke 12:15 RSV

Earthly possessions cannot satisfy.

This can be illustrated in nearly any community, indeed in almost every life.

In an interesting comparison, the promises of God, found through His Son, and in His Word, and the promises of Money are practically identical.

Think about it.

One set of promises is perfect and eternal, from our Heavenly Father.

Who do you think is behind the imperfect, finite, and temporary promises of Earthly money and wealth? 🤔

Say that one is a collector of souvenir spoons, plates, salt shakers, stamps, coins, or ANYTHING, and that after, many years one’s collection numbers hundreds or thousands of items, is the thirst for another item thereby assuaged?

No!

If one has any number, however extensive, he desires always another, and another, and another.

The pursuit of earthly treasures is a disease that feeds and increases upon itself.

If one is collecting “thousands” or “millions” of dollars, the possession of any number of units does not satisfy the “collector” but only sends him avidly in search of more.

This hungry pursuit of wealth, or any earthly achievement, pierces the pursuer through with many sorrows, temptations, and snares, as well as thrusting him into many foolish and hurtful lusts “which drown men in perdition” (1 Timothy 6:9,10).

In 1 Timothy 6, Paul used two metaphors in this verse to describe the people whose minds are set upon becoming rich.

  • They are caught in a “snare,” in the sense of a trapped animal, which once captured is unable to recover itself.
  • The other is that of an exhausted swimmer who is drowned in the flood.

The people here condemned are not merely the rich, specifically, but those whose desire and intention are focused upon that one thing.

All wealth of this world is unrighteous, however acquired; and by this the wealth itself, NOT the possessor, is meant.

  1. Wealth deceives the owner into believing that it is his.
  2. It strongly tempts him to trust in riches.
  3. In making a man depend on them for happiness, riches rob him of salvation and the glory of God.
  4. It estranges him from earthly friends.
  5. It surrounds him with false friends.
  6. Wealth promises much and delivers nothing.
  7. It is a constant hazard to his spirituality.

This does not decry lawful ambition and application in one’s work.

What is here condemned is not ambition to excel in some lawful department of human activity, which indeed may bring an increase in riches … but the having of a single eye to the accumulation of money by any means.

It is NOT THE POSSESSION OF MONEY, but THE LOVE OF IT and the PURSUIT OF IT, which are condemned.

True, making money the root of “all evil” seems a little extravagant to some.

When one is dealing with a degrading vice of any kind, the interests of virtue are not served by qualified assertions.

The old rendition that the love of money is the root of all evil” appears to be exactly what the Greek says; and, if going beyond the truth a little in the allowance that there are SOME “evils” not attributed to the love of money, the expression stands anyway as hyperbole, a metaphor used by all of the sacred writers.

There have been many very rich men who were righteous, such as Abraham, Job, and many others; but as the Lord himself noted, “Money itself is wicked”; and it is able to corrupt and destroy many of the people who possess it.

There is the uncertainty of earthly treasures.

Christ here mentioned moth and rust and thieves, elementary sources of loss which have hardly changed since our Lord spoke these words.

Weary not thyself to be rich; Cease from thine own wisdom.

Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not?

For RICHES CERTAINLY MAKE THEMSELVES WINGS, LIKE AN EAGLE THAT FLIETH TOWARD HEAVEN.

Proverbs 23:4‭-‬5 ASV

If one is tempted to disbelieve it, let him ask any man who has seen a flood, a tornado, an earthquake, a volcano, a change in fashion, a war, a revolution, the death of a partner, the betrayal of a sacred trust, a serious illness, or an automobile accident, or any of a million other things that continually illustrate the truth of this divine wisdom.

As an antidote to man’s covetous instincts, Christ taught that “IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE,” and requires that his followers shall give of their means, as they have been prospered, for the support of the Truth.

In all things I gave you an example, that so laboring ye ought to help the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that he himself said,

IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE.

Acts 20:35 ASV

The prudent accumulation of money, wealth, or property against anticipated earthly needs is NOT here condemned out of hand and without qualification.

Luke speaks in this place of him that “layeth up treasures for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).

So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

Luke 12:21 RSV

Even at its best, however, and even when most nearly under control, a man’s natural selfishness is a source of awful and constant danger to his eternal welfare.

The inducement that giving to righteous causes is for “yourselves” should not be overlooked.

All that one gives or does for the kingdom of God will accrue to his eternal credit.

Not even a cup of cold water will lose its reward (Matthew 10:42).

And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”

Matthew 10:42 RSV

The principal concern of the Saviour is seen in this, namely, “Where is thy heart?”

The love of Christ and his kingdom, the constant choice of spiritual rather than carnal values, and the preference for eternal things as contrasted with things material and secular, these considerations mark the broad purposes of the new life in Christ.

Possessions must be possessed; they must not possess their owners.

For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs.

But as for you, man of God, shun all this; aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.

Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 Timothy 6:10‭-‬12 RSV

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