Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on 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 your heart will be also.
Having just celebrated Christmas with my family, I had the great displeasure of packing all my belongings back into my suitcase. I am always excited about my new holiday treasures, excited to pull gifts out of boxes and enjoy them. And simply because they are new, I will treat them differently from other possessions. I make sure I take extra good care of them! I want that newness to remain intact! But the weight of my two suitcases made me more and more aware of all my stuff. When I was boarding my plane back to Dallas, I had a realization—I am constantly looking for that next new thing—and not just things like my new Christmas treasures. This searching bleeds into most areas of my life.
This revelation says two things about me: I get bored easily and I sense there is something I don't have that I need. Both drive me into search mode. I love the enjoyment of new and exciting things, but the enjoyment soon ends when I see something else that I don't have. I am no longer satisfied. It is truly a vicious cycle in which to be caught. Do you identify with me? Do you find yourself being unsatisfied with what is in front of you? Do you, like me, search for that “next” thing?
Here is the deep heart issue that comes to light—we have a joy problem. The word joy is often mistaken for enjoyment. They are vastly different. Enjoyment is situational and based on our opinion. Joy is pure delight that doesn't falter. Matthew 6 helps us to differentiate between the two.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal…”
Verse 19 begins with a command. Do not bind yourself to the treasures of this world that will fade or be stolen. Notice that the verse does not use wording like “might” or “could possibly.” It's very real that the treasures, the enjoyment, the search for satisfaction will not be met fully on earth. Well then, where do we find this true, unwavering joy?
“…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven”
Heaven. Heaven is where the true and lasting joy is found. It is being kept for us there! This assurance is coming from the mouth of Jesus Christ in the midst of His Sermon on the Mount. He is telling us the answer is intimately found in Himself.
Many of us would agree. We know that it is the truth, but we live in tension with what Scripture says to be true about joy and where it is found and with what the world says to be true about joy and where it is found. We can say with our lips that Jesus is the answer, but with our lives, the world is winning. I want both to be true. I want my filling and lasting joy now! I want it to be found in my circumstances, friendships, future, and Jesus, revealing from where I want my true joy to come. I settle for the momentary and cycling joys that my earthly treasures will provide rather than delighting in the very Author and Creator of joy.
Brothers and sisters, do you too find yourselves here? Verse 21 is a call to action for us. What is truthfully your treasure? Because where our treasure is, that is where our heart is. Our lived-out loves, our motivations, our chief ends are all wrapped up there. And until we can say with a full and true voice that Jesus is the treasure of our hearts, we will be living in the midst of a battle.
Join me in asking the hard question, “Where is my true treasure?” Unearthing these fleeting joys in our lives points to the forever, unchanging, unfaltering, and fulfilling joy that comes from being in relationship with Christ. Take time to inventory your heart. Pray that the Holy Spirit will do what only He can do and give us eyes to see what we cannot see for ourselves.