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“Matthew 6:19-20— Just how does one ‘store up treasures in heaven’?”
Jesus made some intriguing statements that are collected in the passage of Scripture we call “The Sermon on the Mount” (Mt. 5-7).
He addressed a wide range of spiritual and ethical issues.
Though one could argue about which verse “sums up” the sermon, it seems to me that this one short line (Mt. 6:19) might come close.
The phrase essentially poses a question: “Will you (A) take the short view, planting yourself fully in this temporal, finite world with the assumption that this is all there is, or will you (B) take the long view and do the things that prepare you and others for eternity?”
Jesus’ life and teachings show that He chose “B.”
He is clear that storing up “treasures in heaven” does not mean having lots of expensive stuff (6:19), power and influence, celebrity status, or a solid 401(k).
Concomitantly, He never insisted that His followers withdraw from the world, refuse to invest in the well being of others, or avoid a high standard of ethical behavior.
Quite the opposite, actually, His people should never become so “heavenly minded that they are no earthly good!”
For Christ-followers, it means demonstrating the same heart for others that Christ Himself revealed (6:21) He prescribed humility, mercy, purity of heart and peacemaking (5:3-10).
He spoke of good works that glorify God (5:16), eschewing anger, adultery, divorce, false oaths and violent resistance while loving one’s enemies (5:21-48).
He encouraged giving to the poor, praying with sincerity, trusting God to provide your needs (6:1-34), avoiding hypocrisy when judging others (7:1-6) and living out “the Golden Rule” (7:12). Principally one stores treasures in heaven by investing in what really lasts: people.
In this you honor God (5:13-16), reveal what matters most to your heart, and lead others to faith in Him (7:13-14).