Updated: May 16, 2019
"Store up Treasures for Yourselves"
By Peter McArthur
In the following text Jesus outlines some principles about the NATURE or CHARACTER He expects of His followers. It’s not only a certain helpful attitude He’s talking about, but a truth!
"Store up for treasures for yourselves in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust destroys,
and where thieves do not break in or steal.” (Mat 6:20)
This verse comes at the end of a three-fold sequence dealing with the Righteousness of the Kingdom.
The FIRST subject is found in Mat 5:17-48 where Jesus deals with MORAL issues pertaining to the Kingdom. This has to do with righteousness between mankind, person to person.
The SECOND is found in Mat 6:1-18 and deals with RELIGIOUS issues relating to the Kingdom. This section concerns the righteousness we have before God, and Him alone.
Finally we come to the THIRD subject in Mat 6:19 through to 7:12 which deals with SPIRITUAL concepts about the Kingdom. This is the righteousness between the children of the kingdom and the age/world in which we have to live.
So because our verse under consideration (Mat 6:20) comes in the SPIRITUAL section of consideration, it’s therefore extremely important to pay attention to Jesus’ teaching.
This discourse from Him isn’t about morals, or how to get through our day to day lives without too much temptation or stress. No – it deals with eternal issues, about things we cannot yet see, but in which we believe by faith.
There are treasures being stored up (daily?) which one day we will clearly see, know and understand. Treasures that are totally incorruptible, and that are being set aside to bless us after our resurrection. It certainly takes faith to believe that, and hold onto it firmly. But that’s what Jesus said, so it indeed is true and certain!
And strangely, though we’re talking about “heavenly” yet-to-come treasures, they seem to be linked to “earthy” here-and-now things.
The following texts which imply this have got to do with what we might call “good deeds” that are done on this earthly realm.
“If you wish to be complete, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." (Mat 19:21)
"Sell your possessions and give to charity; make your selves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys.” (Luk 12:33)
Now while the focus is part earthly and part heavenly, this isn’t the full story. When we take into account ALL of the New Testament writings (particularly Paul’s later epistles) we get an extended understanding about the Messiah’s sayings about storing up treasures.
Paul alerts us to a particularly vital truth in Colossians: “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (Col 3:2)
Often in Paul’s Prison Epistles he refers to a “Mystery”. It’s a very mature concept that the Holy Spirit unveiled to him later in his ministry. Paul saw it as a truth he needed to impart before his pending death.
This “Mystery” spoken of especially in Ephesians has a Heavenly and Eternal focus (see Eph 1:3 and 2:6 and 3:3-5 and 3:9-10)
According to Jewish belief this even extends to death itself, where “rest” is seen as the “stored up treasure” for the faithful believer. The words in Deut 31:16 "And the Lord said to Moses, you shall sleep with your fathers", can be paraphrased like this:
"And the Lord said to Moses, lo! you shall sleep in the dust with your fathers, and your soul shall be treasured up "in the treasury of eternal life" with your fathers.''
But what is actually being stored up in the heavenlies? It’s not just the blessing of eternal life and the world-to-come. What is being stored up for that Great Day is TRUTH and our adherence to it, and our firm standing upon it. Yes truth is being stored up and therefore it’s to be greatly treasured.
To put it simply: By honouring Truth we store up treasure!
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”.
Note the sequence we find here.
Treasure to Heart
There is a definite spiritual link here. Hence, guarding the heart is vitally important, perhaps more so than we generally consider.
To truly guard (lit: keep) the heart requires divine re-generation. Grace accompanies this and so leads to our spiritual maturing.
Spiritual growth of a believer can partially be judged by the quality of their talk and what they talk about. Don’t simply listen to a person’s outward words because they can easily deceive. Learn to discern, and to keep the heart.
So it would be a wise thing for us to learn to make room in our hearts — here are the examples of Hannah (1 Sam 2:1) and Mary (Lk 1:46-47).
Remember also, blessings abound more than our worldly problems!
Can our thoughts, words and deeds have eternal ramifications? Certainly they can, so we need to pay due diligence to these.
Focus the heart: Guard your heart with all diligence (Prov 4:23). In Hebrew this phrase literally means “double keeping”. What a thought!
A focused heart is therefore a mature heart.
Here is a timely quote from John Flavel, a 17th century Puritan. “Ask yourself this one question…on what is your heart focused today?”
Pray we'll come to that special revelation that brings us into a desire to store up our heavenly treasures – before it’s too late!
So may our chief concern be about our preparedness for eternity.
The Issachar Ministry