Archivist Neil Dickson discovered a collection of rare books in a forgotten library cupboard. Working his way through the archives of Watt Library in Greenock, Scotland, in 2012, he came across a cabinet that hadn't been opened in decades. Imagine his surprise when he found a number of volumes, including a 1538 edition of Cicero's letters and an 1827 illustrated edition of Milton's Paradise Lost.
We should be storing up treasures in heaven as carefully as that librarian stored this treasure trove of books. Today’s passage is parallel to yesterday’s, so it might sound familiar. We shouldn’t worry about our material needs, because they’re only temporal. Instead, we should pursue eternal things. Temporal things don’t last, and can be spoiled or stolen even here on earth. Eternal things, on the other hand, endure and will never be at risk from thieves or decay (vv. 19–20).
While the “heart” represents the whole person, the “eyes” represent our ability to recognize truth (vv. 22–23). If our eyes are healthy, we’ll be able to see the truth and follow the right path. If not, we’ll be morally and spiritually blind, unable to see which treasures are worth valuing and pursuing.
What we treasure reveals who we are and leads to what we do (v. 21). And since we can only serve one master, it’s wise to choose God over money (v. 24; see also Col. 3:5). The idea of “storing up” shows that following God and treasuring His kingdom is a series of choices that build habits and character. Paul compared it to a construction project (1 Cor. 3:10–15). Some people use wood, hay, and straw as their building materials; others use gold, silver, and jewels. When the fire of judgment strikes, it’s clear which one will endure.
Since today’s reading falls within the larger context of the Sermon on the Mount, let’s focus on practicing the spiritual habits taught there, such as prayer, fasting, or giving to the poor. Take some time today to reflect on or write about the things you treasure. What do you treasure the most? Does your actions support that claim?