READ: Matthew 6:19-24
- Coming out of the opening discussion of private piety, which leads to reward from God, Jesus transitions into a conversation about storing treasure. His listeners would naturally connect reward and treasure, the assumption being that treasure is the reward. And, at the human level, that would make good sense. Of course, by the time we read the text through, we also know that the treasure is in contrast with tangible items like gold and clothing.
- The first century context clarifies the language Jesus uses. Today, we have specialized safes for such things as precious metals and expensive fabrics. We even have special humidors for cigars. The first century world would have a fire-dried adobe safe or a hole in the ground. No matter where they might choose to hide their wealth, it was always vulnerable, not only to natural destruction, but also to thieves.
- Matthew never tells us what the rewards of the previous paragraph nor the treasure of this paragraph actually is. But, the treasure is clearly something that can be stored in heaven. Scholars assume it is some form of spiritual investment—worship, prayers—anything that develops a relationship with God. Since we know that we can’t put physical treasures in heaven, it may well have to do with what we do with our physical treasures on earth.
- Describe a time when you were tempted to act in order to be seen by others instead of God.
- Besides giving, praying and fasting, what other actions can be done for attention?
- Why does the heart matter so much in these instances?
PRAY: Thank God for His constant care for you. Pray for a heart that loves God more than stuff. Commit yourself to prioritizing your spiritual treasure.