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.”
At this point, Jesus is making a gradual segue to a new topic. But as He does so, He connects it closely to what has just been described.
He has been talking about people who do good things, things that would usually be seen as good in God’s sight, but who miss out on the blessing that only He can give by aiming too low. Their goal is receiving praise from people, assuming that if the people think that they are wonderful, that God will too. But they forget that God doesn’t look at the outward appearance; He looks at the heart. (Cf. 1 Samuel 16:7.)
By seeking the praise of men, those people are storing up perishable treasure, the treasure of earth. And, like all earthly treasure, this treasure of the esteem and admiration of other people is subject to decay and theft. One slip in public is usually more than enough to knock a human ideal from his or her pedestal. And time will quickly rob us of the outer beauty of body or grace of action that people admire, and will even scrub the public’s memory of one’s good deeds, replacing everything with amazement at whoever is the latest contender for the title of most beautiful, most talented, or most pious.
Instead of building up perishable, temporary treasure on earth, Jesus recommends building up treasure in heaven. Things done wholeheartedly for God are not subject to the ravages of time, or the faulty memories of human beings. And each action taken in the name of God, done purely for His approval, will do more than just show that our heart is in the right place. It will actually draw our hearts into God’s presence. Where our treasure is, that’s where our hearts will be.
Father, this is all a matter of priorities. If my top priority is You, it will move me to do those things that will please You, and to do them in ways that are acceptable in Your sight. If I want the approval of men, I will do things that are acceptable in their sight, or do legitimately good things in ways that will cause people to applaud, instead of focusing on how You want me to do them. In either case, both what I do and how I do it will clearly reveal what is in my heart, and what I truly value. Help me., Lord, to always value You so highly that all of my treasure is in You, now and forever. Amen.