Scripture: Matthew 6:19-23 (alternate reading: Matthew 11:25-30)
19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 "The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; 23 but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
Meditation: What do you treasure and seek after the most? What do you value above all else? Jesus offers a treasure of incomparable value and worth, but we need healthy eyes - good spiritual vision - to recognize what is the greatest treasure we can possess. What Jesus said about seeking treasure made perfect sense to his audience: keep what lasts! Aren't we all trying to find something we treasure in this life in the hope that it will bring us happiness, peace, and security?
Jesus contrasts two very different kinds of wealth - material wealth and spiritual wealth. Jesus urges his disciples to get rich by investing in wealth and treasure which truly lasts - not just for a life-time - but for all eternity as well. Jesus offers heavenly treasures which cannot lose their value by changing circumstances, such as diminishing currency, damage or destruction, loss or theft. The treasure which Jesus offers is kept safe and uncorrupted by God himself.
What is this treasure which Jesus offers so freely and graciously? It is the treasure of God himself - the source and giver of every good gift and blessing in this life - and a kingdom that will endure forever. The treasure of God's kingdom produces unspeakable joy because it unites us with the source of all joy and blessings which is God himself. God offers us the treasure of unending joy and friendship with himself and with all who are united with him in his heavenly kingdom. In Jesus Christ we receive an inheritance which the Apostle Peter describes as imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for us (1 Peter 1:4). Paul the Apostle describes it as a kingdom of everlasting peace, joy, and righteousness in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).
How realistic and attainable is this heavenly treasure? Can we enjoy it now, or must we wait for it in the after-life? The treasure of God's kingdom is both a present and a future reality - like an investment which grows and matures, ever increasing and multiplying in value, and producing an endless supply of rich rewards and benefits.
Seekers of great treasure will go to any length to receive their reward. They direct all their energies and resources to obtain the treasure. We instinctively direct our energies and resources - an even our whole lives - towards that which we most value. To set one's heart on heavenly treasure is to enter into a deeper and richer life with God himself. It is only by letting go of false treasure that one can enter into the joy of a heavenly treasure that is immeasurable and worth more than we can give in exchange. Do you seek the treasure which lasts for eternity?
Jesus also used the image of eyesight or human vision to convey an important principle of God's kingdom. Blurred vision and bad eyesight serve as a metaphor for moral stupidity and spiritual blindness. (For examples, see Matthew 15:14, 23:16 ff.; John 9:39-41; Romans 2 2:19; 2 Peter 1:9; and Revelations 3:17.) The eye is the window of the heart, mind, and "inner being" of a person. How one views their life and reality reflects not only their personal vision - how they see themselves and the world around them, it also reflects their inner being and soul - the kind of moral person and character they choose for themselves. If the window through which we view life, truth, and reality is clouded, soiled, or marred in any way, then the light of God's truth will be deflected, diminished, and distorted.
Only Jesus Christ can free us from the spiritual darkness of sin, unbelief, and ignorance. That is why Jesus called himself the light of the world - the one true source of light that can overcome the darkness of sin and the lies and deception of Satan.
What can blind or distort our "vision" of what is true, good, lovely, pure, and eternal (Philippians 4:8)? Certainly prejudice, jealousy, and self-conceit can distort true and clear judgment of ourselves and others and lead to moral blindness. Prejudice and self-conceit also destroys good judgment and blinds us to the facts and to their significance for us. Jealousy and envy make us despise others and mistrust them as enemies rather than friends. We need to fearlessly examine ourselves to see if we are living according to right judgment and sound principles or if we might be misguided by blind prejudice or some other conceit. Love is not jealous ...but rejoices with the truth (1 Corinthians 13:4-6). Do you live your life in the light of God's truth?
"Lord Jesus, you have the words of everlasting life. May the light of your truth free me from the error of sin and deception. Take my heart and fill it with your love that I may desire you alone as my Treasure and my All."
1 I will bless the LORD at all times; his
praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and be glad.
3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.
5 Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Seeking the right intention, by Augustine of Hippo, 430-543 A.D.
"We know that all our works are pure and pleasing in the sight of God if they are performed with a single heart. This means that they are performed out of charity and with an intention that is fixed on heaven. For 'love is the fulfillment of the law'(Romans 13:10). Therefore in this passage we ought to understand the eye as the intention with which we perform all our actions. If this intention is pure and upright and directing its gaze where it ought to be directed, then unfailingly all our works are good works, because they are performed in accordance with that intention. And by the expression 'whole body,' Christ designated all those works that he reproves and that he commands us to put to death. For the apostle also designates certain works as our 'members.' 'Therefore,' Paul writes, 'mortify your members which are on earth: fornication, uncleanness, covetousness' (Colossians 3:5), and all other such things." (excerpt from SERMON ON THE MOUNT 2.13.45)
quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version
of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of
the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright
2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the
United States of America. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Citation references for quotes
from the writings of the early church fathers can be
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