‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,’ Matthew Ch 6 v 19
While on a short holiday during the winter, I spent some time watching three squirrels that had set up their residence in the garden of the house where I was staying. Every morning they could be seen busily taking nuts from a basket which the owner of the house had hung on a nearby tree.
I was impressed by their energy and agility as I watched them leaping from tree to tree as they raced up, down and around their tree top habitat. All morning they could be seen collecting nuts.
It seemed to me, as I watched the nuts diminishing inside the baskets, that the squirrels were being greatly rewarded by their efforts to collect food.
I wonder what all our efforts in life will earn us when God ‘will reward each person according to what they have done.’ Matthew 16 v 27.
As I daily watched the squirrels it became evident that each one was determined to gather as many nuts as it could and also, it appeared, to make sure nobody else did.
Whenever a bird approached the feeding station it would be chased away. And if another squirrel tried to sneak in while one was already feeding it would be chased round and round the tree trunk and up into the topmost branches until it fled from the scene.
Are you and I as determined in our quest to lay up ‘treasures in heaven,’ Matthew 6 v 20, as the squirrels were to lay up supplies of food?
Do we do our utmost to chase away anything that is coming between us and our hopes of joining those who ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst.’ Revelation 7 v 16?
One morning while speaking to the house owner about the squirrels he gave me some disappointing news.
Apparently the squirrels were burying the nuts they harvested all over the garden and sadly they did not seem to remember where they had buried them. In addition, when spring came most of the nuts were lost when the garden was dug up and seeds sown and plants planted.
It was quite sad really that despite all their determined efforts the treasure they thought they had stored away would soon be lost forever.
Friends, it is sad too that many in this world are storing up treasures upon this earth that will soon be lost forever, for our lives are but ‘a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.’ James 4 v 14.
Jesus tells us to lay up ‘treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.’ Matthew 6 v 20.
Will our possessions, personal treasures, achievements and beliefs be of any use in the world to come?
Insights into Heaven
The Saviour, who God decreed ‘would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead,’ Acts 26 v 23 had a clear view of heaven for He ‘came from heaven,’ John 3 v 13, and returned there. The insight He had of joy in heaven is revealed to us in the Bible for it tells us that He ‘For the joy that was set before him endured the cross,’ Hebrews 12 v 2.
He was not the only one who had an insight into heaven for the martyr Stephen when close to death ‘‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ Acts 7 v 56. We are told that those who persecuted him ‘saw that his face was like the face of an angel,’ Acts 6 v 15. He passed into glory saying ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Acts 7 v 59.
Clearly Stephen knew that he had treasure in heaven that would never perish. Is there an ‘inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God,’ Ephesians 5 v 5, awaiting you and me? Is that where our treasure is?
Treasure in Heaven
The busy, energetic and determined squirrels had found and stored up a treasure, which although in its self perfect for them, was going to prove worthless.
Stephen had found a treasure which was priceless and sustained him during his time of trial and beyond the grave.
What do our treasures of life consist of? Will they, like those of the squirrels, prove to be worthless? Or will they, like that of Stephen, prove to be ‘an inheritance, that can never perish, spoil or fade.’ 1 Peter 1 v 4?
May we be assured of eternal life, and treasure in heaven, by truly believing in Jesus Christ alone for our salvation and deliverance from sin.