Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
– Matthew 6:19-21
This passage is shaped by two aspects of a single command: one prohibition and one exhortation. Do not store up treasure on earth; instead, store it up in heaven. Notice that the prohibition here is not against hoarding; it actually endorses it, but not in the worldly sense. Hoard away, but do so toward the heavenly inheritance. To store up treasure there necessarily means taking it away from the earthly stash. Heavenly gain necessarily means earthly loss. This is exactly the thought in Paul’s mind as he writes Philippians 3:7-14, that everything he once regarded as gain (earthly) he has accounted now as loss for the sake of the matchless prize (heavenly).
A SOUND INVESTMENT
In investing there are several factors you might take into account before settling on an investment strategy. With stocks, you typically weigh risk vs. reward. With bonds and CDs, you should consider interest rates and time until maturity. In all investments, you must take the security of the investment into consideration (Is this bank financially sound? Are these guys scammers?, etc.). This is how the portfolio Jesus is offering shakes out:
-Initial cost of investment: Your life
-Risk: Guaranteed massive earthly loss (go read the Beatitudes)
-Reward: Unmatched heavenly gain (go read Philippians 3)
-Time until maturity: Your earthly lifetime
-Payout period: Throughout eternity
-Security of the investment: Guaranteed by the power of the eternal, omnipotent, omniscient Sovereign God (e.g. Isaiah 14:27 “For the LORD of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?”)
OF IS THE MATTER
The promise is sure, and the reward is immense, and yet I don’t think that this is Jesus’ point in this little statement from the Sermon on the Mount. Notice his last words: where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The promise of a heavenly inheritance is entirely true and totally sure, and yet Jesus’ point here is actually about your heart. People get their hearts broken and stolen from them all the time. It has happened to me, and I assume it has happened to most other people at well at some point. Life is filled with unmet expectations and disappointed hopes. Jesus lays out the only safe place to rest your hopes: in Him. Everything on earth is subject to some sort of ruin, whether by devouring of moths, the corrosion and erosion of rust, or the robbery of thieves. This is a totally unsafe place to rest your heart, where it may be eaten up or stolen by others. But Jesus says your heart is completely safe when it rests in Him. With these words Jesus is not trying to protect us from making bad financial investments or laying about 5 Basic Principles to Glorify God with Your Money. He is offering Himself as the only sure refuge for your soul. And with that, all of the glories of Heaven.
As the hymn says,
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ Name!
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand!
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
Lord, let that be true of me as well.