Where your treasure is, there is your heart.
The Lord Jesus has left us related lessons, including the Gospel and specific words: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven… For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be” (Mt 6:19-21).
The Sermon on the Mount of the Lord Jesus continues by giving directives to Christians regarding what attitude and relationship to take toward material things. This Gospel passage examines the relationship to possessions. The one who has come to faith in Christ must remember that he lives in a material world that leads the Christian into difficult situations. Often the Christian has to ask himself whether he is following the right path of faith, whether he is not subject to matter, or whether he is living freely as a child of God. The Christian must learn to evaluate earthly things correctly. What constitutes the treasure of the material earthly world? Is it money, gainful employment, comfortable living, and a consumerist way of life…? Is it?
The Christian must direct his life, and therefore his relationship to things and circumstances, in such a way that his heart does not cling to fleeting items but pays more attention to other values – treasures that we say do not lose their weight; they are just as valuable, namely: grace and God’s truth. We can say that for us believers, this is our treasure, our riches, and so we must keep our hearts there.
Especially today, when there is talk of a consumer society, the Christian is to notice that the things of this world have no permanent value. Still, he must also be aware that these things’ splendor and glory have no more important place for us. This is explained to us by the Lord Jesus in the short parable of the healthy eye and the sick eye. In the human body, the watch has the function of light. A person with healthy eyes can move around and orient himself, which, on the contrary, a sick person lacks.
So it is with the desire for wealth. When a man loses his mental sight, when he cannot rightly understand, receive, or enjoy things, he becomes blind to the things of God, and thus he is heading for destruction. The Christian must take care that he does not lose his mental sight, that he does not spoil it. He must value God more than everything in the world!
Let us think: What is our relationship to material things? What do we consider most valuable? Is it money, status, family, or God?
The parable of the eye also prompts us to think. How do I look at myself, at my surroundings? Are they the eyes of this world, or is it the gaze of the Lord Jesus? Do I prefer the things of God to the things of the world? Do I have a desire within me to have more and more and therefore have no time for God?
Recall the encounter of the Lord Jesus with the rich young man. He kept the commandments. He wanted to attain eternal life. He called the Lord Jesus good. But when he received the command: “… go, sell what you have, give to the poor… and follow me!” (Mt 19:21) – he remained sad. His relationship with wealth was intense, more than his desire to attain eternal life and his friendship with the Lord Jesus.
We can also remember the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. When the rich man begs Lazarus to go to his brothers and warn them that they should not go to the place of torment where he had gone because he was more concerned with the things of this world than with the things of the soul, he is told, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Lk. 16:29). And rightly did the tax collector Levi. This man, hated by the Jews, says to Jesus when they meet him in his house, “Lord, I will give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have deceived anyone, I will give back fourfold” (Lk. 19:8). And indeed, he acted on the words of the Lord Jesus and earned a place among the Twelve. Judas slowly worked his way up to a betrayal for 33 pieces of silver by taking them from the common treasury. And though he returned them, he no longer had the strength to make a total change in his life, so he hanged himself.
In the examples of the Gospel, we see the lesson, the encouragement, and the warning. The answer is for each of us to give ourselves. The matter is open; the time for a decision is here. When we pray the Our Father, let us instead pray slowly and think about what we are saying to Jesus.
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