But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
Matthew 6:20 (KJV)
Treasures – Have you ever thought about what these treasures are that Yeshua is referring to? I never quite understood this one, especially from a Hebraic perspective. You see, Hebrews were never really concerned about heaven because that was God’s realm, not man’s. Man was never meant to live there, or ever go there. Man’s realm is on earth.
Initially I thought, are these my good deeds? But how are my good deeds stored in heaven? Maybe they are my prayers, or my feelings of love? Honestly, I just didn’t know, but I wasn’t reading this from a Jewish perspective either.
So in order to understand what Yeshua is speaking about, we need to read this in context with the entire chapter. Yeshua’s “treasures in heaven” are a contrast to the treasures upon earth. The earthly treasures are items that answer the questions to verse 31.
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
Storing up grain answers what we will eat. Storing up wine answers what we will drink. Storing up wool or linen answers what we will wear. Yeshua says the Gentiles are primarily concerned about these things. Israel, on the other hand, shouldn’t consider these earthly treasures as their focus. But rather, “treasure up the treasures” (thēsaurizō thēsauros in the actual Greek). And these treasures in heaven are things that moths and rust can’t corrupt.
Turns out these treasures are explained at the end of this chapter. Look at verse 33.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
The treasures of heaven are these: the kingdom of God, and His righteousness. Now this puts things into a Jewish perspective… remember Yeshua was a Jew, so He thought like a Jew, not a Greek. The kingdom of God is happening right at that time… on earth. It wasn’t in heaven, but is sanctioned by the heavenly realm. And secondly is God’s righteousness… which is located in heaven. This is the other treasure that we need to treasure for ourselves. It isn’t a treasure that can be eaten up by moths.
For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation.
So how do we establish, or treasure up for ourselves God’s righteousness? This happens by becoming the image of God on earth. It’s a process by which we are the representation of God’s will (His law) on earth. This happens through obedience to Him.
Remember verse 21 that states where your treasure is, your heart will be also? And if we love God and His Son with all our hearts, we’re supposed to do what? Yes, keep the commandments. Keep Torah – God’s righteousness manifested on the earth through His creation.
This isn’t about storing up some treasure in heaven that we’ll be rewarded with at some later time when we go there. It’s about the now. Take a look at the last verse of the chapter.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
So what are you treasuring right now? Is it the righteousness of God? How are you treasuring it? Is it by being the representation of His righteousness in the world today? You are created in the image of God. It is our responsibility to represent His kingdom and His righteousness in this world. He’ll take care of the other stuff.