Storing Up Treasures in Heaven – Matthew 6:19 Explained
In Matthew 6:19 Jesus makes an interesting statement. Jesus says “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth”. This was not teaching us to give all, or even most of our stuff away. This is about the source we seek for real spiritual happiness that lasts forever, as opposed to earthly ones that are temporary.
Maybe you’ve heard it said ‘money can’t buy happiness’. Hmmm, I’m going to have to disagree with that one. Just ask a homeless person would they be happier if they had a place to live and a vehicle to get them around. Ask someone who owns a nice home and has many nice things if his/her happiness would be impacted if they suddenly lost it all.
Now, don’t hear what I’m not saying. Those things are all temporary, and NONE OF THEM bring us the deeper, more meaningful joy that we discover last forever as we seek spiritual things first.
In Matthew 6:19, when Jesus says “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth”, and this is oftentimes taught as a command not to invest too much of your money into retirements, or to avoid buying a fancy car, boats, or bigger homes. It doesn’t end there. This is also commonly taught as a command to give most of what we have to the church, mission trips, and the needy.
It seems people just want to guilt trip into giving away everything they earn. There’s one problem. That’s not what God wants, or expects from any of us.
Some might argue, “it’s all Gods anyway”, and to that I say “duh”. God gave it to us, and if He can give it to us, He can give it to anyone He pleases. We don’t need to put God in a box.
Before you jump to conclusions, YES, I DO believe we are called to give where there’s a need. We are called to give from the heart. To give from our abundance. I do believe we have a biblical responsibility to help those that are poor and unable to work. Keyword, unable, not unwilling.
Side Note: – There is ZERO biblical truth that we should have a government take our money and give it away for us. That’s our responsibility, and ours alone. Even if a bunch of people get together and vote for it, taking someone else’s money to give it away to someone else is still theft.
But I digress…..
My point here is too many people reframe what Jesus is saying in Matthew 6. Here’s what the verses say:
[Matthew 6:19-21]“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”.
Abraham was rich. King David was rich. Throughout the bible we see that many people after God’s own heart were wealthy. God has never said it was evil to be well off, and He never said you had to give it all away. As far as I am concerned, if you believe we are called to give it all (or most of it away), then you are a hypocrite of the worst kind if you still own a car, live in a home, have a TV, cell phone, jewelry, etc.
Now, some people may quote the story about the rich young ruler, and how it was easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle. As always, context it everything, and it’s easily explained. Click here for our post on that story.
So, what should we learn from this message Jesus gave on the Mount? What did Jesus mean by “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth”? I think it’s simple.
Here’s what I think Jesus is teaching us. Look at what He said immediately after telling us not to store up treasures on earth. He didn’t say anything about giving it away. That would be as if it were like writing some heavenly check for treasures in the kingdom. You see, this is about you, and where you will really find fulfillment that lasts. When we do things like love others and exude the love Christ – we are storing up spiritual treasures.
What I’m saying it this: Jesus is not talking about giving all your stuff away. He’s talking about an attitude. He’s talking about walking in the Spirit. You having nice ‘stuff’ in no way means you are not able to store up treasures in Heaven.
Boats and cars are temporary. They rust and rot. Money, cell phones, and TV’s are also temporary. They can be stolen and destroyed in an instant. All of these things bring us temporary earthy pleasure. But none of these things should ever be our source for real happiness. Spiritual happiness.
In other words, when we seek the things of God first, that’s when we have peace, joy, and happiness that last. Everything else is icing on the cake.
You may have a great job today. A job that affords you fancy clothes, nice meals, and much more. There is NOTHING wrong with that. Don’t let someone guilt into feeling greedy and unacceptable to God. But, all of that could be gone tomorrow. If we don’t understand where the real source joy comes from, we are looking in the wrong place, and when it’s gone we won’t know what to do. Our hearts need something deeper.
I want to close with something the Apostle Paul said. I think it fits with what Jesus is teaching in Matthew 6.
At times Paul was doing pretty darn good. He said he had PLENTY. At times he was WELL FED. He said he was ‘living in PLENTY’. Paul also said there were other times when he was in need. He was hungry, and ‘lived in want’.
I can guarantee you that Paul would prefer to be living in plenty and well-fed, but Paul’s source for happiness was Jesus. And because Jesus was the source, and where Paul stored his treasures, Paul was able to be content even when he went without. That was the secret! But don’t make the mistake of thinking Paul would choose to struggle. He will WILLING to, but that’s not the same as wanting to. Paul knew he wasn’t in control of everything. He gave up that right. So should we. We should be content with what we have. We should be willing to help those in need. But let’s not create a new doctrine out of Matthew 6. This is all about spiritual fulfillment that lasts forever! Here are the verses I referenced.
[Philippians 4:11-13] I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Author: Mike Cynar
Mike Cynar grew up in church and observed that countless people would go to church and then just stop. The church always referred to them as ‘fake Christians’ or ‘backsliders’ but Mike discovered the problem was deeper. The problem was the church message. The message was 90% behavior improvement and how bad you are, with a pinch of who you are in Christ, It was like every sermon was being preached to the church of Corinth. It’s in the Baptist church, Catholic, Pentecost, and most every other church. After discovering the true gospel message and how we are made right with God because of what ‘Jesus did’ (not what ‘we do’) Mike set out to free believers from behavior improvement programs and bring them back to Jesus. The Result – Jesus Without Religion was launched.