Goods or Treasures?

“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.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,[c] your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

  • Matthew 6:19-24

“Goods are given to us to be used, but not to be stored away. Just as Israel in the desert received manna daily from God and did not have to worry about food and drink, and just as the manna which was stored from one day for another rotted, so should Jesus’ disciples receive their share daily from God. But if they store it up as lasting treasure, they will spoil both the gift and themselves. The heart clings to collected treasure. Stored–up possessions get between me and God.  Where my treasure is, there is my trust, my security, my comfort, my God. Treasure means idolatry.

“But where is the boundary between the goods I am supposed to use and the treasure I am not supposed to have? If we turn the statement around and say, What your heart clings to is your treasure, then we have the answer. It can be a very modest treasure; it is not a question of size. Everything depends on the heart, on you. If I continue to ask how can I recognize what my heart clings to, again there is a clear and simple answer: everything which keeps you from loving God above all things, everything which gets between you and your obedience to Jesus is the treasure to which your heart clings.”

  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I thought of quoting C. S. Lewis, from Mere Christianity, where he describes a truly Christian society as being as Bonhoeffer describes.  Everyone’s work must produce something, and not ad campaigns, and such.  Lewis describes it as being a society of the ‘advanced’ (leaning toward a more socialized state) and old-fashioned, regarding morals, family values, etc.  He placed advanced in quotes, as moving further toward socialism might seem advanced, but we need to maintain our democracy, with properly elected officials and checks and balances in place without losing our moral compass.  He would be disappointed today.

Yet, what Bonhoeffer is driving toward has nothing to do with how much money we make, but in what value we place in that money and in the making of the money.  Bonhoeffer’s second paragraph seems practical and pragmatic, but it is hard to be that honest with ourselves.  Yet, in our quiet moments, I think we each know.  A question that Bonhoeffer could have asked is “If you feel comfortable, is it because you trust in God or you trust in your investment portfolio?”  A different question might be, “What consumes most of your waking hours, and what would you sacrifice if time ran short?”  The first half of this is obvious when you have a full-time job, but 40 out of 112 hours should be the norm.  For the remaining 72 hours, are you still working?  Are you working at home, maintaining the home?  Are you spending time with the family?  Are you studying God’s word?  Of these, which is lacking?

Right now, I feel lacking in a lot of areas, but I am slowly getting over the flu, my reading of other blogs has suffered as well as Bible study.  But that is short term under dire circumstances.  My focus now is to get caught up.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

4 Comments

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  1. Blessings on your continued recovery from the flu.
    Most exegetes see Jesus as beginning a new topic with those verses a topic that continues to the end of the chapter. But it’s interesting to relate them to the preceding verses. When we give alms, when we fast, and when we pray, we do these good things quietly, even secretly, so only God knows about them. None of them is to be done to impress other people; otherwise, that’s the only reward we get.
    But we do not gather heavenly treasures by giving, praying, and fasting. Our heavenly treasures come from the grace of God, not from our good works. Ergo, we should be no more impressed by our own good works than we are by our income, wealth, savings, and property. What we do on earth is an earthly treasure too. J.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Treasure means idolatry.” This is so true. I had never thought of it like that before. Thanks for sharing that thought and for expounding of it.

    Liked by 1 person

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