If you were to conduct a poll concerning the desire to achieve financial abundance or to gain great wealth, you would find that the majority of individuals polled would agree that it is to some degree a goal or at the very least a desire. Even if it is a fantasy, to be wealthy or to have more than enough financially speaking is what many aspire to achieve. It is true that in every society it is necessary to earn a living in order to survive.
However, most humans spend their lives working their way upward on the corporate ladder in order to achieve personal and financial success. While all of us must work in order to create stability within our lives, it is the constant pursuit of money and objects that can and will create an instability. In many cultures around the world, it is considered positive if you have obtained a great or a considerable amount of wealth.
Our world today has become consumed with the idea that having material assets is what equates to happiness and satisfaction. Daily, television commercials and internet ads are produced with the intent to invoke the user or viewer to purchase a new product. Much of the latest gadgets such as smartphones, for example, are constantly sold with the idea that you the consumer must have the ‘latest and greatest’ or you are far behind. As a result, there are many who are enticed by the clarion of large corporations that push the latest attractions – and those who are open to this bombardment heed the call. Money and an acquisition of material possessions have long since been a staple of human life from one generation to the next.
However, the hidden truth about seeking to be fulfilled by materialistic acquisitions is that to gain temporary treasure is to profit nothing of value in the eternal sense. In the book of Matthew Chapter 6, Jesus is addressing and teaching various principles to His Disciples. In verses 19-24, Jesus touches on the topic of having wealth. Notice what the first verse of this passage says:
(NLT) “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.”
Jesus gives the instruction for us not to collect or store up treasures for ourselves here on Earth. The reason why Jesus wants to dissuade us against collecting treasures or Earthly things is because they are temporary. He uses the imagery of the destruction that moths and rust can and will cause to material possessions. For example, the moth which is a winged insect is commonly known to be a nuisance to personal property.
Research shows that moths in their larvae form (before they reach their adult stage) are actually known to destroy clothing, however, the concept of the destruction of moths is essentially the same. Even as it relates to rust, metal items eventually rust due to exposure over time from oxygen and moisture. The whole point of using this imagery is so that we can understand just how temporary the acquisition of material things truly is. Jesus continues in the next two verses:
(NLT) “Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
Jesus says in verse 20 to store our treasures in Heaven. Why does He instruct us to store our treasures in Heaven, and what are the ‘treasures’ that He is referring to? There are a couple of points to examine from verses 20-21:
1. Heaven is a place that is incorruptible – Here on Earth there are a myriad of examples in which Earthly things are corruptible or temporary. Nothing we gain here on Earth in the materialistic sense will last forever. Regardless of how much money you earn in your lifetime, or what material possessions you gain, there will at some point come a time in which your material possessions will fade away.
However, in Heaven, nothing is corruptible which means it is a place that is eternal. Jesus also says that “thieves do not break in and steal.” How often have you consciously secured your belongings? Probably as often as you can, because we live in a world that has become so consumed with having property and currency that it is constantly under the threat of theft. However, Heaven is a place where theft does not occur.
2. The treasures to be stored in Heaven are non-material – Material gain and wealth eventually fade and profit nothing towards eternity. However, it is what a person does with their time especially for the sake of building God’s Kingdom that will last. A passage from 1 Corinthians Chapter 3 verses 11-14 says the following:
(NLV) “Jesus Christ is the Stone on which other stones for the building must be laid. It can be only Christ. Now if a man builds on the Stone with gold or silver or beautiful stones, or if he builds with wood or grass or straw, each man’s work will become known. There will be a day when it will be tested by fire. The fire will show what kind of work it is. If a man builds on work that lasts, he will receive his reward.”
What the Apostle Paul is saying in this scripture is that Jesus Christ is the foundation that we must build our lives upon. Having Christ as your foundation is the first step to moving toward a life that will yield great fruit. A life that has its foundation built upon the temporal things of this world only leads to a life that is empty in the pursuit of ‘the next best thing.’ What Paul is also saying in this scripture is that every person’s work or service is what will be counted.
He says, “There will be a day when it will be tested by fire. The fire will show what kind of work it is.” This means that every single person will be judged by God based on how they lived and what they did with their lives. It is important to note that this scripture is not suggesting that you and I can be saved based on our works. We are not saved by works, but by the grace offered to us because of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. What Paul is addressing here are the works that will last. What are the works that will last? The only legacy or works that God will accept is only what gives Him greater glory.
In other words, if your life has not been yielded to God through Jesus Christ, then your works in this Earth will be burned in the fire (judgment before God) and counted as nothing suitable. The reason is because the works we do in our flesh are corruptible. However, the work we do by God’s Spirit are eternal.
Looking at verse 21 of Matthew 6, Jesus says, “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Whatever is most important to you is what you will serve. If money and material possessions are important to you, then your life will be centered around the quest to achieve temporary prosperity. Jesus says in of verse 24,
(NLT) “No one can have two bosses. He will hate the one and love the other. Or he will listen to the one and work against the other. You cannot have both God and riches as your boss at the same time.”
The whole point that Jesus is making here is that you cannot serve both God and material wealth. There are so many who have either committed idolatry by serving their money and their possessions, or they have tried to serve both God and what they have. However, God desires that we serve Him with our whole heart and being.
A lot of what the world advertises today is temporal and it will leave many dry at the end of their lives. Instead of seeking the next best thing, we should seek the eternal richness of God. It can only be found in Jesus Christ. If you don’t know Jesus as your Lord & Savior, this is a perfect time to find God’s eternal richness. Only in Christ and what you do for God will last. Without Him, your life will be in abject poverty in the spiritual sense. The richness that God has to offer will last throughout your life and into eternity.