Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. “The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be. “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:19-24).
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry (Colossians 3:1-5).
We take every thought captive in obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32).
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be (John 14:1-3).
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away (Revelation 21:4).
Earthly treasures—we all know what those are. We can see and touch the shiny sports car, the fancy boat, the big new home, and all the other creature comforts that money can buy. Compared to vague and elusive heavenly treasures, these things seem so real and attractive, especially when a neighbor has them and you don’t.
Why would Jesus warn us about these earthly treasures that seem to make so many people happy? The answer to this can be summed up in three words: “temporary,” “perishable,” and “shortsighted.” We are destined for eternity, but the treasures of the world are not. It’s shortsighted to set our hearts on things that will fade away (Colossians 3:2). What will last forever, Jesus says, is the treasure of heaven. This treasure really is worth seeking, because it’s the only one that will truly satisfy and will last forever.
The heavenly treasure Jesus promises has two aspects. First, there are the rewards waiting for us at the end of time. At the last judgment, we will each receive our recompense for every act of love and obedience to Christ—every cup of water for the thirsty, every sinful thought brought captive to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), every moment submitted to his will. Jesus has prepared a place for us in the beautiful New Jerusalem (John 14:2-3), where there is no darkness, sickness, or pain (Revelation 21:4). He will reign there as Lord, and we will see him face-to-face!
The second aspect of heavenly treasure is what we can experience here and now. For those who give their lives to Christ and submit to him, life on earth is filled with glimpses of heaven. This includes:
- Freedom from guilt.
- Power over persistent sin.
- A dynamic, personal relationship with the Creator of the universe.
- Clarity and purpose for living.
- Deep friendships with brothers in the Lord.
- Conviction of the truth and clarity about right and wrong.
- The ability to forgive.
- Strength in weakness.
- Peace in times of trial.
- Joy in the knowledge of salvation.
- Hope for the future.
- Divine wisdom for everyday situations.
- Healing and miracles.
When you stop to think about it, no luxury car, fancy boat, or mansion can possibly compare to these heavenly treasures. And the way to receive them, Jesus says, is simply this: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). Here are a few ways to do this:
- Try not to get too distracted by trivial stuff.
- Do your best to keep God’s heavenly plan in the forefront of your mind.
- Set your heart on receiving God’s love.
- Spend time every day returning that love to him and growing closer to him through prayer, service, and faithfulness to his calling.
The more determined you are in seeking first the kingdom of God, the more you will see the true value in heavenly treasures and the futility of pursuing only earthly treasures.
“Heavenly Father, help me to put you first in all things and seek first the kingdom of God, rather than earthly treasures. Lord Jesus, thank you for so extravagantly lavishing on me the good gifts of your heavenly kingdom.”
Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing me to adapt meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.
[Maurice Blumberg is the Director of Partner Relations for The Word Among Us Partners, (http://www.waupartners.org/), a ministry of The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) to the Military, Prisoners, and women with crisis pregnancies or who have had abortions. Maurice was also the founding Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men (http://www.nfcmusa.org/), for which he is currently a Trustee. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.]
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- Take some time to meditate and reflect on the Scriptures at the beginning of the article. What do you think God is trying to reveal to you through them?
- The article says that “It’s shortsighted to set our hearts on things that will fade away (Colossians 3:2).” Why do you think this is true? In spite of these reasons, what causes you to still get caught up in aggressively pursuing earthly treasures above heavenly treasures?
- The article goes on to say that “The heavenly treasure Jesus promises has two aspects.” How would you describe these two aspects?
- The article provides a list of heavenly treasures that “we can experience here and now.” Which of these have you experienced? Which ones have you not experienced? What steps can you take to increase these “glimpses of heaven” in your life?
- The article also describes some specific ways to “seek first the kingdom of God.” How well are you doing this? How can you do better?
- Take some time now to pray for the grace to seek heavenly treasures ahead of earthly treasures. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.