Matt. 6:19 - 21 “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 neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;
for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Here Jesus moves from focussing on our private life (giving, praying, fasting) to our public business in the world - such things as money, possessions, food, drink, clothing and ambition. However, we must not put these in the two categories that are often used - spiritual (sacred) and secular. The heretical divorce of sacred and secular has been a disaster in church history. Paul teaches that to the holy all things are holy (Titus 1:15). That denies any such separation.
The distinction Jesus does make though is between what is eternal and what is temporal. I taught my children from a young age, that all the material things they treasure will ultimately end up at the rubbish dump. In fact, many of the things most of you have enjoyed in the past are there now. This is not to say we are not free to enjoy them - it is just a case of perspective. Martin Luther made a great statement. He said, “material things have three trustees - rust, moths and thieves.” I love that. So true.
In contrast, the things Jesus encourages us mostly to focus on in our life are moral and eternal. They last forever and pass through into eternity with us. They also have a huge impact on the people and the world around us.
So - what are these things? According to Scripture the most important of all is love (1 Cor 13). True love begins with a love for God and then a love for others. Obviously, love and passion for His Kingdom is part of this. Moving out from here we pursue such things as righteousness and peace as described in God’s Word; we pursue wisdom as being more valuable than knowledge, we pursue justice and offer compassion, especially to those who are suffering. We uphold the sanctity of human life and seek to do good to all people. This includes caring for the poor and those less privileged than we are. Here Peter offers us a useful list which includes faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. Peter goes on to say that if we don’t have these qualities we are blind or short-sighted - but if they are present and ever-increasing in us, our lives will be very fruitful (2 Peter 1).
It is interesting that many of the things that we enjoy and often take for granted were taken off us for a month or so, due to the COVID 19 lockdown. How did you do? What showed up in your life? Did you miss the so-called treasures of the world or were you content with your relationship with the Father, less stress and some opportunities to catch up with family? Answering these questions will give you an indication of how you are doing on the scale in 2 Peter. Don’t be condemned - if you found somethings to work on that is good. Take them before the Lord and work with Him on them - it will assist your journey of moving from one degree of glory to another. That is what we all take into eternity with us and no form of materialism can offer us that.
God bless you