“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:19-24).
Where are we storing our riches? Are we like the foolish rich man who only thought of his wealth and never about God (Luke 12:16-21)? He was the type of person who loves money so much that he sends his wallet a Valentine card. If so, how’s spiritually poor we must be! Most of the problems in the family today concern money and the things it can buy. If that is where the heart is, then money will give us no end of trouble. We have to make a decision about what we concern our hearts with. Will we focus on how to make money or set our hearts on serving the Lord? We can either lay up earthly riches or lay up treasure in Heaven, but not both at the same time.
We must give ourselves to God
The most important detail about how to gauge where our heart really is, is by questioning our motives. Some people make money for the glory of God, others try to get it to glorify themselves. Are we serving God or endeavouring to keep up with the Jones’? In others words, it all comes down to purity of heart. One of the signs that a person has filled his or her heart with the quest for money is that their spiritual life and walk with God suffers. The desire to honour Christ is replaced with a false god called mammon.
Recovery must begin with seeking and serving God. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). Then comes sacrifice; “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26). Those who set their hearts on money dismiss the need of personal sacrifice, and thus the cross becomes too burdensome to bear. They think that riches will bring happiness and contentment, but the opposite is true. “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10). Henry Fielding (1707-1754) wrote: “Make money your god and it will plague you like the devil.” How true!
We must entrust ourselves to God
What is the point Jesus is getting at in our text? Is it money itself or something altogether deeper? Of course, it is not how much you have in the bank that is being called into question in His teaching, for everyone needs money. The Lord is getting to the heart of the matter by asking where our hearts really are. Is our security in the Kingdom of Heaven or in the Bank of England? Only by trusting in our Heavenly Father can we accumulate lasting treasure and be abundantly blessed by Him. Whenever mammon calls us to worship it, we must turn our hearts to God. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). When riches get a hold of our lives, have you noticed how quickly our faith weakens. We leave off doing what God wants of us, and we blame our fellow Christians for our spiritual condition. Yet all the while it is what is in our hearts. That idol in our heart just keeps robbing us of peace. “Covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). mammon does not give us what we need, instead it keeps us from the blessing of God. “Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things” (Matthew 6:30-32).
Yes, we can lay up treasure in the Kingdom of Heaven, which will never deteriorate, diminish or dissolve, but only if that is where our heart is. But can we make a better place for ourselves in Heaven by doing good deeds down here on earth? The asking of such a question would still reveal that our hearts are not right with God. How can we improve upon eternal life? Anyhow, that is not the point Jesus is making. There will only be eternal rewards in Heaven because Heaven is already in our hearts. The evidence of this will flow from our lives each day. “For the kingdom of God is … righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans14:17). What both Jesus and Paul are saying is very clear: the Kingdom of Heaven must be in our hearts. “Behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). How many more times does the Lord need to remind us that He will provide for us just like a faithful Father and Good Shepherd? Ah, that might be the problem after all! Have we laid aside His word to lay up treasure on earth? Have we forgotten to reinforce His precious promises by reading Scripture? “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:2) … “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19) … “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (2 Corinthians 1:20).
So where do we go from here? If we allow mammon to rule our hearts, then not only will we suffer, but also it will be an unbearable burden for our family and friends. “It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy” (George Lorimer, 1867-1937). Have we noticed our heart hardening towards the things of God and His people? Let us ask ourselves if money is the cause of this. Until we refocus our attention on Christ and humble ourselves to do His will, our heart will not be right. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). Do not allow anything of this world to decrease this purity of heart.