heaven 2

Jesus warns us in Matthew 6:19-20,

“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.”

I always wondered about this passage, not because I don’t understand Jesus’ rationale because I do. It makes perfect sense to me because most of our pursuits & achievements in life are fragile & never permanent. Therefore for us to devote all of our time, energy & resources on them would be most unwise. Instead we are to search & invest in what will last & lead us beyond this life, and such would truly be a precious treasure. I get that.

But what exactly are these treasures in heaven that Jesus is talking about here?

Could they mean something monetary or materialistic? Because Revelation 21:21 does say referring to heaven that “The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.” But we know that is not what Jesus had in mind since He clearly warns us that “You cannot serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24). In other words, the treasure or the prize has to be something that honors God rather than competes against Him.

Others may say that the treasures in heaven could refer to our status in heaven. This is somewhat biblical since in the Parable of Talents, we see that the master had this to say to his faithful servant, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” So the servant was promoted to a higher responsibility for his faithfulness. This may sound pretty good, but I feel a bit uncomfortable because it sounds too worldly & ambitious to say that we serve to secure better positions in eternity.

Then what do treasures in heaven refer to?

I believe that to understand this phrase, we have to turn to 2 passages.

The first passage is Mark 12:29-31.

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” This identifies loving God & loving our neighbor as being the 2 most important pursuits in life.

The second passage is Revelation 7:9, and it reveals the outcome of obeying & living Mark 12:29-31. Apostle John says, “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” That is to say that our treasures in heaven isn’t something material or some status, but they are lives that we have loved & touched with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

What will transcend this world are relationships we have through Jesus Christ. Relationships are what matter the most. I’ll go further & say that they are the only thing that truly matters.

Yesterday, my family & I were driving to meet friends, but due to a poor weather condition, a car rear ended us leaving a pretty big damage to the back of our minivan. But I have to say, the very first thought that entered my mind at the moment of the impact was just one thing. That one thing was “Is everyone in the car okay?” Nothing else mattered. By the grace of God nobody got hurt, only the car, but this may delay our departure to Chicago by a few days since the car needs to go into a shop. But my point is that no car or anything else in this world is more valuable & precious than relationships that God has granted in our lives.

This week being the final week at our church, things are kind of hectic, and I’m not sure if my thoughts are conveyed clearly above. But there is a song titled “Thank You for Giving to the Lord” by Ray Boltz that summarizes perfectly what treasures in heaven means.

I dreamed I went to heaven
And you were there with me
We walked upon the streets of gold
Beside the crystal sea

We heard the angels singing
Then someone called your name
You turned and saw this young man
And he was smiling as he came

And he said, “Friend
You may not know me now”
And then he said, “But wait
You used to teach my Sunday School
When I was only eight”

“And every week you would say a prayer
Before the class would start
And one day when you said that prayer
I asked Jesus in my heart”

Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am a life that was changed
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am so glad you gave

Then another man stood before you
And said remember the time
A missionary came to your church
And his pictures made you cry

You didn’t have much money
But you gave it anyway
Jesus took the gift you gave
And that’s why I am here today

Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am a life that was changed
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am so glad you gave

One by one they came
Far as the eye could see
Each life somehow touched
By your generosity

Little things that you had done
Sacrifices made
Unnoticed on the earth
In heaven now proclaimed

And I know up in heaven
You’re not supposed to cry
But I am almost sure
There were tears in your eyes

As Jesus took your hand
And you stood before the Lord
He said, “My child look around you
Great is your reward”

Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am a life that was changed
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am so glad you gave

I am so glad you gave