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Storing Up Treasure



(Matthew 6:19-21 NIV)  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.


(Luke 12:15-21 NIV) Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."  And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop.  He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'  "Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.  And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry."'  "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'  "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."


(Ecclesiastes 12:13 NIV)  Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.


In chapter five we studied the attitude of the righteous person.  In chapter six we have been closely examining what should motivate the righteous person.  The righteous are taught not to be motivated by the approval or acceptance of people and society (Matthew 6:1-18).  They are taught by Jesus to be motivated by their relationship with their Heavenly Father.  This produces Kingdom citizens that are giving, prayerful and sacrificial.


Now Jesus turns our attention to another common drive: wealth.  He teaches us about true wealth—the kind of treasure that does not bear the fruit of anxiety, worry or broken relationships.  This new wealth Jesus teaches us about throughout the rest of Matthew chapter 6 is one that satisfies us thoroughly and entirely because it doesn’t wear out, break down or perish.  It is the kind of wealth that causes us to be focused on our commitment to God and His Kingdom.


(Matthew 13:44-48 NIV)  The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away.


These three parables teach us to value God’s Kingdom and to treasure it only.  Our motivation should be solely for God’s Kingdom.  All our efforts and striving (work) and perseverance only make sense if we do it for God’s Kingdom.  It is the only thing on Earth you should be motivated by and the only thing you should value (1 Corinthians 15:58).  The man sold all he had to buy the field with the treasure (Kingdom of Heaven)!  The merchant sold everything he had to buy the pearl of great value (God’s Kingdom)!  These people were focused, clear on what they needed to do and motivated to do it.  They saw the value and went for it—no holes barred!


The third of this set of short parables also teaches me that being able to make decisions is a must in the Kingdom of God.  As different opportunities and situations come up in my life, I must be able to tell the good ones from the bad ones.  The Lord will enable me to be able to tell the difference if my treasure is His Kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33). 


What do you treasure?  Ecclesiastes 12:13


In His Footsteps © 1998                                                    



Storing Up Treasure





The story of the wise traveler: There was a man who lived in the mountains, and he was known as a wise man.  Many came to visit this man because he had a lot of wisdom.  The man always thanked God for the wisdom he received and for everything else he had.  One of those visiting him once asked him how he could consider himself to be so rich when he only had a one room house with one table, one chair, one plate and one fork.  The wise man questioned the visitor, “When you travel, do you take all your possessions with you?”  The visitor responded, “No.  I only take what is necessary to have during the trip.”  “Exactly”, said the wise man.  “This is why I only have what is necessary on this trip called life.  All my real treasures are in Heaven, waiting for me along with my Heavenly Father who has given them all to me.” Can earthly possessions be distracting (Luke 8:14; Mark 4:18, 19)?  Read Luke 12:15-21.  Was this person like the wise traveler?  Did this man think about what other people needed?  Was enjoyment guaranteed for this man just because he had accumulated a lot of wealth?



We are taught to value possessions and accumulate them, even when they are not necessary.  We are constantly being told what we need and what we should have by the TV, the news, our family, friends and co-workers. What do you value, the tangible or the intangible (look up tangible in a good dictionary)? Read 2 Corinthians 4:18-5:11.  Do you really believe that what you see is temporary?  If you really believe that, how will you show it in what you say and do (See 2 Peter 3:10-12)?  Do you really groan to be clothed with your Heavenly dwelling, or are you too busy focusing and being distracted with the toys you have here?  Do you make decisions and plan ahead based on what you see (your possessions) or based on faith (what God is willing for you to do)?  Are you in good conscience busying your days with the Lord’s work, faithfully anticipating His coming (See the parable of the ten virgins: Matthew 25:1-13)?



How do you invest in Heaven? Read 1 Timothy 6:17-19.  Are these verses just good suggestions or are these commandments?  Why does “arrogant” appear with “being rich in this present world”?  Why must we not put our hope in what we see (wealth) (see James 5:1-6)?  Where does our enjoyment come from, wealth or our relationship with God (see Ephesians 1:18ff)?  Can you really enjoy anything that God provides for you without a serious relationship with Him?  What should we be rich in?  How, then, do we lay up treasure in Heaven, as opposed to on Earth?  Are you going to be taking any of your earthly possessions with you when you die?  What will you be taking with you?  Relationships are what we take with us, not things. Do you believe God has blessed you with everything that you need?  Read Philippians 4:19 and Matthew 6:25-34.



Do you treasure your relationship with Jesus, your Savior?  Do you know what you have been given? Read Colossians 2:2-15.  What was Paul’s purpose in whatever he did?  Is your purpose to encourage others and unite them in love that they may also know the riches you have in Christ, or are you too distracted with what you have and too busy with your plans?  Do you labor and strive for a complete understanding of what you have in Christ, as Paul says in this passage?  Is it possible to be deceived by other arguments if you don’t strive to have a complete understanding of these things in Christ?  Part of understanding what you have in Christ is believing that He is God and can and has provided you with everything you need for this life and the life to come (2 Peter 1:3; 1 Timothy 4:8). Read Colossians 1:27 and Ephesians 1:7-10.  What is the greatest mystery, the greatest treasure, and the hope of glory?  Christ in you!!!  If you really believe this, you will be sharing it (Colossians 1:28) and getting to know Christ all the more, forsaking everything else (read about Paul’s attitude in Philippians 3:7-12)!



The greatest investment is the one you give away.   Read Luke 16:9-13.  How should we use worldly wealth?  What does our use of worldly wealth show?  Does it matter how we use the blessings God has given us?  What happens if we mismanage our worldly possessions?   Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-15.  Why does Paul preface this whole passage concerning the attitude of a thankful and giving person with verse 6?  How giving are you?  How cheerfully are you willing to part with some material wealth you have in order to be used as a blessing for those who may be lacking?  Will you ever lack anything when you are a giving person (verse 8-11)?  What does generosity produce (verses 11-13)?  Are your actions and relationships producing thankfulness in the church or are they producing headaches?  Are you making yourself out to be part of the solution or part of the problem?  Are you overdrawing the love bank of your brothers and sisters or are you a heavy investor?


Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. Luke 12:15