19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19–21, NKJV).
Jesus makes a strong contrast being material and spiritual things. We do not achieve spiritual fulfillment by material means. For example, while important, caring for one’s body is not the same as caring for one’s soul; That requires exercising ourselves toward godliness (1 Tim. 4:7-8). The earth and its goods are transitory, temporary, and tenuous. To invest one’s heart and life in these things is to miss the greater treasure that is enduring and eternal. We will fix our hearts on one or the other. Christians focus their hearts on spiritual wealth. The previous teachings of Christ in this sermon illuminate heavenly treasures. In the Beatitudes, Jesus explains the spiritual fortune of kingdom citizens (Matt. 5:1-12). Choosing righteous conduct reflects a heart that values heaven more than earthly vindication and pleasure (Matt. 5:17-48). Seeking God’s favor in our service and prayers shows a heart dedicated to treasures men cannot spoil (Matt. 6:1-18). Money is not evil, but loving it is (1 Tim. 6:9-10). Loving heavenly things equips us to use material goods to serve others and honor God while laying hold of eternal life (1 Tim. 6:17-19).
19 Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men! 20 You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues. (Psalm 31:19–20, NKJV)
During His sermon on the mountain, Jesus taught us to lay up treasures in heaven (Matt. 6:19-21). It is noteworthy that in today’s passage, the Lord God lays up the treasures of His goodness for those who fear Him and trust Him. God protects us from spiritual and eternal harm, from the “plots of men” who may even kill the body, but who cannot harm our soul (Matt. 10:28). Those who fear God and trust Him live faithful lives before friend and foe. The Lord shelters these from the strife that others speak – words designed to frighten, discourage and defeat us. We will trust in the Lord’s goodness, for it is great. He is our haven of safety against every evil.
4 Do not overwork to be rich; Because of your own understanding, cease! 5 Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; They fly away like an eagle toward heaven. (Proverbs 23:4–5, NKJV)
Wealth is not the panacea many believe it to be. Riches are perishable; they come and go. For example, billionaire Donald Trump has filed for corporate bankruptcy four times since 1991. Solomon (himself vastly wealthy) advises not to work yourself to death trying to be rich because earthly wealth is temporary. The wise person understands money can be used for good or evil, just as one’s attitude toward it can either be thankful and generous, or covetous and miserly. Content with food and clothing, and thankful for much more than that, lay up treasures in heaven. The imperishable riches of eternal life are laid up there for the faithful (1 Pet. 1:4-5).