Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Mt. 6:19-21).
The declaration by Christ: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” is one of those that elicits a “No duh” response, for its conclusion is inherent in its declaration. For if one treasures one thing, he by nature follows hard after it with his heart. However, the declaration is a necessary one, for we who would follow after Christ might affirm such with our lips, but our hearts are a different matter. We might be quick as American Christians, whose wealth and health surpasses that of ninety-five percent of the rest of the world, to acknowledge with our minds that Jesus Christ and his Kingdom should be our treasure, however our hearts are far from him. We declare with our lips that this age is passing and that true bliss exists in the Age to come, but, because of where our true treasures lie, we find ourselves investing much more in the things of this passing age than in the coming Kingdom.
Think for a moment upon that which we Americans cherish, and you will find it fulfilled by our actions all around us. We cherish the nice things of this world, and as such, it is demonstrated by our expensive homes, our new cars, and our large televisions. We cherish life in this world, therefore we declare things to be evil which cut life short in this age (e.g. junk foods, refusal to exercise, tobacco use, etc.), and we declare things to be good which extend our present life (e.g. health care, exercise, organic foods, etc.). And we treasure life without complications, and thus we declare “inconveniences” evil (e.g. children, bad marriages, aging parents, work, etc.) and things that eliminate those inconveniences good (e.g. abortion, divorce, nursing homes, socialism, etc.). All these things declare that the greatest American treasure is life in this world.
We, as Christians, should expect such treasuring to be found in the world. However, the sad truth is that we find the exact same treasuring in our churches. No, you will find few in the American church who support abortion for the sake of convenience, but you would be hard pressed to find Christians who object to any of the rest of the world’s remedies. Therefore, you find that divorce rates among Christians match that of the world’s, that the materialism of Christians matches that of the world’s, and that the desire to extend life in this age and to live convenient lives matches that of the world’s. We, in spite of our lips’ declarations, demonstrate to the world that our hope is theirs and thereby exist among them as religious versions of them rather than as light in a dark world.
What you must ask yourself, Christian, is, “What is my treasure?” Is your treasure Jesus Christ and his coming Kingdom, or is it the luxuries of this passing age? Are your greatest concerns about the glory of Christ in the world, or are you more concerned about moths and rust destroying your possessions or thieves stealing them? For you cannot serve both Christ and this passing age, for, as Christ said, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Mt. 6:24). Let it not be said of you as it was of those in Jerusalem: “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Mt. 15:8).