It's Good To Be Greedy Part 1

In Matthew chapter 6 Jesus is in the middle of His sermon on the mount. The sermon has direct principles to live by for those that are citizens of God’s kingdom. In chapter four we are told about how John the Baptist was arrested. This event started Jesus’ ministry. He went around preaching that everyone needs to repent because God’s kingdom is here (4:17). After having a large crowd gather around Him, He goes to a mountain side and begins to preach. He recalibrates the thinking of everyone that is there. He goes through and teaches how His word should be correctly applied. This is because the religious leaders of that time twisted scripture into something it was not. This sermon is thus very extensive with Biblical principles to live by.

In the middle of this sermon Jesus talks about treasure. He said, “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.” (Matthew 6:19-21) This is a rich passage (pun intended) about spiritual living. I feel though that it is poor to most because it is often not fully understood. Over the next few articles we will mine deep into this passage to reveal its wonderful value for our lives. Looking at these few verses you could break this teaching into three sections: 1. What not to do (command 1) 2. What to do (command 2) and 3. A spiritual indicator. In this article we will look at what Jesus tells us not to do.

Jesus first gives us a command on what not to do. He tells us to not lay up for ourselves treasures here on earth. What are these “treasures” He’s talking about? It’s anything that you value or deem valuable. So it doesn’t necessarily have to be diamonds or rubies. It could be something as simple as clothes, a fishing rod or a kitchen knife! It doesn’t even have to be all of the same thing. It could be a big pile of “stuff”. It is whatever you deem valuable and thus get a lot of. This command isn’t too surprising or difficult. The bible often has verses warning us about riches, worldliness and materialism. The difference in this passage is Jesus gives us the reason why we shouldn’t accumulate a lot of things. This is very important to note. Oftentimes the Bible is just viewed as a book of no fun. A book with a bunch of don’ts and “thou shalt nots” all over the place.

Yet Jesus is giving us a very good reason for His command here. He basically tells us that our things will eventually be no good. Whether they deteriorate, decay or get taken away, everything you own will be gone. Think about it. Your home, cars, TV, toys, tools and clothes will someday be thrown out. They will eventually be outdated, worn or broken. Everything we own ends up in the trash heap at some point. That is why we shouldn’t devote our lives to getting such things. Jesus’ logic here is that we should be investing into something with a bigger return. What we spend our time, money and energy on should get us more. It is pretty simple actually. Why spend time, money and energy getting things that you can’t keep? That won't last? That aren’t eternal? That aren’t fully satisfying? That is to be shortsighted. He wants us to have an eternal perspective.

Put it this way, if you were to spend money on an item that would last 5 years or the same amount on something that would last 15 years, which would be better? No brainer, right? This is why Jesus is telling us not to invest in “treasures” here on earth. It is a bad investment! We are being foolish to value something that is so short lived. To invest in things that are not eternal. Randy Alcorn on this passage puts it this way, “Sooner or later, everything we own ends up [in the junkyard]. Christmas and birthday presents. Cars, boats, and hot tubs. Clothes, stereos, and barbecues The treasures that children quarreled about, friendships were lost over, honesty was sacrificed for, and marriages broke up over-all end up here. Ever seen that bumper stick ‘He who dies with the most toys wins’? Millions of people act as if it were true. The more accurate saying is ‘He who dies with the most toys still dies-and never takes his toys with him.’ When we die after devoting our lives to acquiring things, we don’t win-we lose. We move into eternity, but our toys stay behind, filling junkyards. The bumper sticker couldn’t be more wrong.” Don’t get it wrong. Don’t be foolish. Don’t value things that won’t last. Don’t invest in things that will only temporarily fulfill. Do not lay up treasures here on earth. In the next article we will see what Jesus tells us to invest in. We know that it will be things that have eternal value, but what are these “treasures in heaven”? We will see next time.

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