Picture eternity as a line that extends forever to the left and forever to the right. Your life (and mine) is a little dot on the line of eternity. The dot is temporary (80 years if you’re lucky) but the line extends on forever. Well, the Bible says it’s foolish to financially live for the temporary dot instead of for the eternal line. Jesus put it this way in Matthew 6:19-20, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.” Jesus says: Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth. Why not? Because treasures are bad? No. Simply because they will not last. Instead Jesus says: Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. Why? Because it’s right? No. Because it’s smart! Treasures in heaven will last. It’s a pragmatic argument that Jesus is making. It’s a logical argument Jesus is making. We’re not to store up treasures on earth because they won’t last. They will all one day end up in the dump. But we should store up treasures in heaven because in heaven they will last forever. God is not against us storing up treasures. In fact, He commands us to store up treasures. He just wants to make sure we’re storying up our treasure in a place where it will last.
No doubt you’ve heard on the news about all the Syrian refugees fleeing their country because of ISIS. Pretend with me that they were all going to get to head back to their homeland in the near future. Pretend with me that the government told them they could work while in their host country and send money ahead to a bank of their choosing in their homeland but that when they left their host country they couldn’t take anything with them. If that were the case, would they lavishly furnish their temporary housing? No. They’d probably get by with the basics and send the rest ahead. Well, this is the attitude we should have while on earth. We’re here for 80 years if we’re lucky (that’s the dot) but then we’re in heaven for ever (that’s the line). Jesus challenges us here to be sure to invest in the line, and not just the dot, because the line last forever, whereas the dot is only temporary.
You can’t take earthly treasures with you when you die but here in Matthew 6 Jesus gives us a wonderful qualification that though we can’t take them with us, we can send them on ahead. So anytime we invest some of our earthly money into eternal purposes, we’re laying up treasure in heaven.
Now let me make a qualifying statement. These verses are NOT teaching us to neglect investing in our future here and now. They are just warning us not to neglect investing in our eternity later. How do we flesh this out practically speaking? We each have to find a way to do that. For me, I invest 10% into retirement. Like the ant, I’m storing up for the financial winter I know is coming (Proverbs 6:6-8). But whereas I invest 10% in retirement, I invest 15% into the kingdom of God. It’s not that I’m not investing in things related to my time on earth. It’s just that I’m not doing it to the neglect of investing in eternity. It’s not that I’m not investing in things related to my time on earth, it’s just that I’ve tried to strike the right balance between how much I’m investing in eternity vs how much I’m investing in earth. Some of you are living for the dot, not the line. Why not reverse that order by always investing more in eternity than in temporary?