“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Jesus next spoke about our attitude towards wealth as a gauge of our spirituality.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,
The idea behind “laying up” is to store up; it puts emphasis on hording for oneself. If our essential scale of values is based on things of earth, we will miss eternal orientation. Jesus was not making an absolute prohibition against gathering wealth to oneself, but rather teaching that money is to be used for eternity rather than time. This is an issue of personal policy.
where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
Treasures on earth are subject to decomposition. Moths eat through clothes, a value of considerable importance in the ancient world. “Rust” comes from the word eats. The idea is to corrode. Rust consumes and causes items to disappear. Earthly treasures ultimately disappear.
To “break in” is literally to dig through. Walls in Palestine were often made of dried mud. A burglar could dig through a wall to steal one’s possessions. Again this emphasizes the transient nature of earthly possessions.
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
When we use all our possessions for God, we lay up treasures in heaven. Jesus says in effect, “Focus on things of eternal consequence.”
where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Treasures on earth are temporal. They only last in time, not eternity.
For where your treasure is,
Our treasure is what we value most.
there your heart will be also.
What we love is where we place our priorities. What we love most is our god. Our hearts are right when we devote time and possessions to eternal things.
Our best investment is in eternal things.
We cannot divide life into spiritual and material, because Jesus made no such division. A proper attitude towards wealth is to use all that we have for eternity.
It is not wrong to possess things, but it is wrong for things to possess us. When things possess us, it is spiritual slavery. Temporal possessions will enslave our hearts. Putting all our efforts into earthly pursuits will distort eternal values.
And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Ti 6:8-10