I recently heard about a seemingly healthy lady who passed away unexpectedly. Her family had to complete the estate processes and clean her home of a lifetime of possessions, which can pile up on us while we are not paying attention. I understand this overwhelmed her family, who hired a company to help manage the estate sale and donate unsold goods. Like all of us, I am sure while this lady was accumulating her belongings, she never imagined she would suddenly pass away and everything she owned would be dispersed by strangers.
I relate to that. As my husband would say, I used to be “afflicted by materialism.” I was very concerned about my appearance and the appearance of my home, and I had a lot of things but very little money saved. Also, being very sentimental, I had a hard time parting with anything. Thankfully, the closer I have become to God, the more He has freed me from that, and I was able to sell and give away many things during my most recent move after my wedding.
Jesus’ well-known and beloved Sermon on the Mount is found in Matthew, and in chapter 6, verses 19-21, He says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
In this passage, Jesus implores His listeners, and us today, to work toward that which has eternal value instead of the transient things of this world. As my husband often says, this is not really our home, and we are just passing through. If we are desperately clutching at our “stuff,” we hold fast to that which we cannot take with us into eternity and has no consequence there. When we cling to our possessions, they start to own us. If our hands are too busy holding onto our things, then they are not free to do the work that God has called us to.
In saying this, I am not saying it is wrong to have things. Many of us own possessions that bring us happiness, and it is not a sin to enjoy them so long as we are not turning them into idols. We just need to be honest with ourselves about how attached we are to our things and to ensure we have a loose grip on them. And remember, everything really belongs to God, not us.
So how do we store up treasures in heaven? When we become Christians, we are regenerated in Christ. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, we are told, “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” As part of that newness, that rebirth, we seek to love God first and serve Him faithfully. We work hard, not for what we wish to accomplish for ourselves, but we work to accomplish the will of our living God and to please Him. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” We seek to glorify Him in all our actions, and we strive to act as good witnesses for Him. Our work for Him becomes our treasure in heaven, and that treasure is what we seek to have as a reflection of our hearts.
As you go about your daily life, think about your current state and what you are doing. Ask yourself how what you are doing serves God and builds treasures in heaven. Here are some thoughts to consider:
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is not merely suggesting we store up treasures in heaven; He is clearly telling us to do so. Through writing this post, I have been examining my own walk against these questions to identify where I need to make adjustments, and I would encourage you to think about your own walk to determine if it is worldly-focused or eternally-focused.
Jeanne-Marie Witmer, Daughter of the King, is a wife and a mother to a teenage son. She wants to encourage women to have meaningful relationships by first having a meaningful relationship with Jesus. Jeanne-Marie understands the transformative work of Christ when we repent and submit to Him so that He can work in our lives. She would like to share what she's learned to help other women find hope and healing in Christ, and she prays that her written words glorify God. When not busy homeschooling, spending time with family and friends, or writing; Jeanne-Marie enjoys photography and many crafts and hobbies.