Treasure in Heaven
By Ron and Nathele Graham
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” Matthew 6:21. We hear a lot of talk these days about wars and rumors of war, strong earthquakes everywhere, famine, pestilence, and more. Obviously we are in the last days and the Rapture is on our near horizon. There are many commentaries written about these end days and websites abound on the subject; some people can hardly wait for the Rapture but others give this prophecy stuff little mind. Whether you are one eagerly awaiting the Rapture or are not interested in prophecy at all you need to ask yourself where your treasure is.
Believers and non-believers alike have lived on planet earth for the last six thousand years or so and this has been the only home we’ve known. We work to buy a home, a car, education, etc., but where exactly is our treasure? Good or bad, happy or sad, angry or glad this world is where we have grown and flourished and we are used to the idea of working for our retirement or to put food on the table. As Christians we need to be sure that our own efforts to gather treasures on earth don’t get in the way of our devotion to our God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Our treasure needs to be in heaven, not on the earth.
Believers should not look to the earthly treasure of this world for assurance. It is temporary and will one day blow away. Our focus needs to be on Heavenly treasures and eternal rewards. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19-21. If we read, study, and believe the Scriptures we are fully aware of something greater existing on our horizon. God does not require believers to be poor, but He does want us to understand that earthly riches pale in comparison to Heavenly treasure. Heaven is where eternal treasure is stored.
Most people would love to see the end to war, famine, hatred, all forms of evil, and have everything opposed to our well being eliminated from our environment. For Christians, one day that will be reality. All evil, malice, strife, hatred, envy, sickness, sadness, wealth and poverty will be completely forgotten the moment we enter that Heavenly realm. So why do so many Christians hold onto this earthly existence as though Heaven doesn’t exist? Could it be that the riches of this life are so controlling that even believers can’t resist their attraction? “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.” 1 Timothy 6:9. Pursuing worldly treasure can become more important to a person than pursuing heavenly treasure, and that is when we need to stop and take a good look at what our motivation in life is. Do we serve God and know that there awaits us many rewards in Heaven, or do we serve the god of this world?
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24. The word “mammon” comes from the Greek word “mamonas” and simply means treasures and riches. Many Christians love to say “I’m living in the world but I’m not of the world.” Sadly we see that many Christians today have the same mindset as their worldly counterparts. Greed often controls the actions of Christians and non-Christians alike, so they aren’t just in the world but are also of the world and love mammon more than God. “Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.” James 5:5. Christian, where is your treasure? Is it in this world serving mammon or have you stored your treasure in Heaven by serving God?
How does one store treasure in heaven? It’s simple really. We serve Jesus. By putting Him first in our life we will be awarded crowns. Not a royal crown but a crown of victory…a “stephanos”. One such crown is for temperance. “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” 1 Corinthians 9:25. In other words, control yourself. You will earn a crown in Heaven if you control your urges to follow lusts of the flesh. Learn temperance in all matters and gain control over your flesh. Another crown is for those who win souls to Christ “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.” Philippians 4:1. Not only did Paul see the believers in Philippi as his joy and “stephanos”, but he encouraged them to stand fast in their faith. A crown of rejoicing is mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 2:19, a crown of righteousness is mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:8. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” James 1:12. Do you love Him? James says when you are tried and endure you will receive a crown of life. There is a crown for being faithful unto death described in Revelation 2:10. Peter encourages his readers to feed the flock of God. Not for riches on earth but to serve the Lord and to be an example to others. “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” 1 Peter 5:4. These crowns are the treasure in heaven that every Christian should strive for, but keep your motive pure…not for personal gain but for His glory. “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. Move away from worldly lusts and serve Jesus and your reward will be “stephanos” of victory!
God is not opposed to Christians having money to spare. There were wealthy people among Jesus’ earliest followers. Zacchaeus, Joseph of Arimathea, Lazarus, and Barnabas are just a few, but after they met Jesus they were not ruled by earthly wealth. In fact, after meeting Jesus, Zacchaeus, a publican, returned to the people four times what he had overcharged them. Barnabas sold his property to help support those first Christians who were turned out of the Temple. Many Christians today have obtained great wealth and that is no sin, but earthly treasures are temporary in the life of the rich, and all Christians should use what they have to serve Jesus. Sin can and will take over when a person, Christian or non-Christian, becomes consumed with attaining wealth. The key word here is consumed. “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:10. Wealth can create a significant obstacle to the Kingdom of God, but it doesn’t have to. “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:23-24. Rich or poor, ask yourself where your treasure is. I hope you see it as being in heaven.
If tomorrow comes and you’ve lost everything you have, will you trust God to supply your needs? It’s easy to say I’ll trust God when we haven’t really lost anything, but what if you lose your home, your car, your bank account, your family, and all your earthly possessions? That sounds like Job’s situation, doesn’t it? He was wealthy but lost all he had, including his health. What did Job do? He trusted God. “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth” Job 19:25. Even before God entered His creation to redeem us, Job knew Him and trusted Him. How did God reward Job? He was restored to health, he had more children, and his herds grew again. His real treasure was in Heaven, and he knew it.
We hold onto worldly treasures way too tightly. We need things like food and shelter, but too often our wants cause us to seek after earthly treasure rather than treasures in Heaven. I wonder how many Christians really look forward to His appearing or yearn to win souls for the Lord more than they want a new car. Remember Jesus’ admonition to the young wealthy man who wanted to gain eternal life? “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” Matthew 19:21. That young man’s treasure was not in Heaven. “But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.” Matthew 19:22. His treasure was on earth and he was unable to see any benefit in knowing and following Jesus Christ.
Pride, greed, fear, covetousness, lust are ever recurring themes of trouble throughout the Bible. These sins take our focus off of Jesus and turn hearts to a materialistic world view. The more we have the more we want. Instead of seeing Heaven as our real home where we will spend eternity with Jesus Christ, like the rich young man we become enamored with all we can accumulate and our treasure is in earthly desires. Gaining more earthly treasure becomes our god. There is a direct correlation between where your treasure is and where your heart is. If you regard your material possessions as your treasure then your heart is set here on this earth, and that my friend is a far shot from Heaven.
Where is your treasure, Christian? Is it in the First National Bank of Anywhere, or is it in Heaven?
God bless you all,
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
This commentary was started by Ron Graham before his death on March 14, 2013, and finished by his wife, Nathele Graham.
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