I wanted to lend a little more context to this passage that I have seen as we read through the sermon on the mount. The passage I’m talking about is:
“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 moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. -Matthew 6:18-21
First of all you have to notice it’s a dichotomy. “Do Not…But…” If Jesus wanted to put a disclaimer in I think he would have, and if he wanted to say you could do both at the same time (treasures on earth and in heaven) he would have said it differently.
But, I’m still a little skeptical so some more context will help.
Jesus has already said some life changing, paradigm shifting, wealth challenging, irrational (by our logic), sacrifice-requiring types of stuff. And remember this is all in the same sermon…
“Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. -Matt 5:42”
Love your Enemies and pray for those who persecute you. -Matt 5:44
“But when you give to the needy…” -Matt 6:3
Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God…But woe to you who are rich, for your have already received your comfort.
Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.” -Luke 6:20,24,25
Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. -Luke 6:31
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.” -Luke 6:35
So, just to recap, you’ve got Jesus telling folks to give to anyone who asks, he even tells us to lend to our enemies (talk about an unwise investment). He exhorts you and I that are riches will be our only comfort, and points us to the poor who have been given the kingdom. This is the Jesus who says do not store up treasure on earth.
My bike has been stolen multiple times and every time I think of this passage, and I have to question whether I was storing up treasure on earth were at thieve DID break in and steal.
Oh, and just in case you think Jesus might not really be saying “Do not store up treasures on earth” read the next passage. In case your thinking, but obviously Jesus doesn’t want us to be irrational and not store up for this or that…
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?