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Earthly treasures will rust and decay

Columbia Biblical Studies: Wednesday, July 30
Columbia Biblical Studies: Wednesday, July 30William Morris

Today’s bible study is from the Gospel of Matthew 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 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.

This familiar verse seems to go against what many of us actually try to accomplish in life. Are we not constantly trying to get a better house, a better car, a new outfit for fall, a new carpet or a bigger diamond? Of course we are. This is a normal part of living and accomplishing goals and creating a better lifestyle for ourselves and for our children. We need not be ashamed of it. We simply need to realize that material things, in and of themselves, are not all that there is in life that we should hope for and work toward attaining. While we may work overtime to purchase a Lexus or a pair of Jessica Simpson heels, have we ever thought about working overtime to build up treasures in heaven?

In the chapter we are considering today, Matthew’s writing is united by the themes of wealth and worry. Here Jesus contrasted transient, earthly riches with permanent, heavenly riches. If our priorities correctly reside with the latter, God through his people will take care of the former.

The implementation of 6:33 presupposes Christian communities who look after the needy in their own midst as well as throughout the world. Matthew 6:22-24 catches us up short with its bold suggestion that money may be the single biggest competitor of God for ultimate allegiance in our lives, particularly for those who are not in the poorest classes of society. Affluent individuals who call themselves Christians need to read verse 24 again and again and ask themselves who they really are serving.

This dilemma raises many doubts and questions, and only in each person’s own heart and mind can they be resolved through contemplation, meditation, thought and prayer. May we all be aware not only of the value of material possessions, especially in these extremely difficult economic times, but also in the value of the riches of heaven, Perhaps, with a greater degree of certainty, in those we can invest.

References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock and The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur.

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