One night, a group of thieves broke into a jewelry store. But rather than stealing anything, they simply switched all the price tags. The next day no one could tell what was valuable and what was cheap. The expensive jewels had suddenly become cheap, and the costume jewelry, which had been virtually worthless before, was suddenly of great value. Customers who thought they were purchasing valuable gems were getting fakes. Those who couldn’t afford the higher priced items were leaving the store with treasures.
In our world someone came in and switched all the price tags. It’s hard to tell what is of value and what is not. Great value is given to the accumulation of material wealth and the power that goes with it. The world puts a high price on popularity, prestige, beauty, and fame. But Jesus taught that such things are virtually worthless in the only “jewelry store” that matters: the kingdom of God.
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
Earthly treasures—we all know what those are. We can see and touch the shiny sports car, the fancy boat, the big new home, and all the other creature comforts that money can buy. Compared to vague and elusive heavenly treasures, these things seem so real and attractive, especially when a neighbor has them and you don’t.
Why would Jesus warn us about these earthly treasures that seem to make so many people happy? The answer to this can be summed up in three words: “temporary,” “perishable,” and “shortsighted.” We are destined for eternity, but the treasures of the world are not. It’s shortsighted to set our hearts on things that will fade away (Colossians 3:2). What will last forever, Jesus says, is the treasure of heaven. This treasure really is worth seeking,
We lay up our treasures in heaven when we give ourselves to the service of others in Christ’s name. On the great day when Jesus will sit upon the throne of glory as Judge, He will turn to those on His right hand and say, “‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me'” (Matthew 25:31-39).
“Heavenly Father, help me to put you first in all things and seek first the kingdom of God, rather than earthly treasures.