Matthew 6:19-21, “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.”
Jesus challenges us to place our focus on treasure in the coming kingdom, not here on earth. The idea is that we are living for an eternal kingdom, with eternal rewards that are superior to anything we can treasure here on earth.
I was a psychology major at Western. One of the things I enjoyed was learning about the experiments in human behavior over the years that reveals so much about the way we all think and behave. A classic example is testing for the ability to “delay gratification”. Usually, they bring a child into the room and place something really desirable in front of them, like a cookie. They tell the child that they can go ahead and eat the cookie if they want, but if they wait and don’t eat the cookie for five minutes, they will be given a second cookie. With the camera rolling, the researcher leaves the room. Five minutes with a delicious cookie in front them is like an eternity to a 4 year old. Some kids just went for it, “I don’t know about later, I’m eating this cookie now.” Others battled and struggled. They would cover their eyes, twist around in the chair, agonizing over the eternal wait. Sure enough, those that made it the whole 5 minutes received their reward. They were able to delay their gratification and received the greater reward of a second cookie.
That is at the heart of what Jesus is proposing. Can we delay our pleasure on earth for the greater rewards of heaven? Will we take the long view, that living for his kingdom is better than for what is right in front of us? The key point Jesus made is that our heart follows our treasure. If we treasure everything for the here and now, that’s the focus of our heart. But, if we treasure Jesus and his kingdom, our heart is fully invested there. Take some time in your prayer today to reflect and consider what are you treasuring, and what has your heart. Ask God to lead you, in very specific terms, toward the treasure that lasts. Ask for his strength to put future treasure in front of the here and now.