Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:19-21
There is an old saying, “Home is where the heart is.” Before the invention of banks, people stored their most valuable possessions and what little wealth they had, at home. Tools made of metal were the most costly, but they were subject to rust. Clothing was expensive as it was all hand-made but it could quickly be reduced to rags by insects. Jewelry and coins were not stored in a safe or a vault in some bank. They were kept at home where they were at risk of theft. Besides one’s beloved family members, these valuables kept one’s thoughts turning toward home with anxious solicitude whenever one was away.
Home is still where our hearts are, despite having banks and storage lockers, vacation destinations and “the cloud” for keeping our pictures and other valuable digital artefacts. All of these off-site repositories also have their vulnerabilities. But what makes our homes so often the source of anxious thoughts is that we know it can all be lost. Both it, and its contents, whether of humans, pets, or prized possessions, is temporary. The last great economic crash was precipitated by a housing price bubble that burst and left millions of people with loans they could not afford to pay off and investors with practically worthless financial holdings.
Today, there are millions of people living in squalid camps or adrift on dangerous seas because they have been forced to leave their beloved homes due to wars, persecution and famine. No doubt their hearts long for the “good old days” and to return even to the rubble piles that once were their homes if they could feel secure enough to rebuild what they had lost. But even in stable, secure places, many people have eventually to leave their cherished homes because of illness or inability to care for themselves. Thankfully, there is an increasing awareness of the benefit of providing services to people so they may stay in their homes as long as possible. Nevertheless, even this help may not be enough.
And so you have it. What our hearts yearn for in this world we cannot have. We long for a secure place of rest, peace and contentment. We want to know that however far we may venture there will always be a place we may return to with joy, a place where we may keep those things that are emotionally most dear to us. Yet such a sense of security cannot be had, for any price – at least not unless we believe and act on what Jesus is telling us!
The country gospel song says “This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through; my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.” To many, that is just a pious fiction to comfort the simple minded. But to those who take Jesus seriously, as He ought to be taken, this is a life-changing and liberating truth. Since the original fall of our first parents in the Garden, this world has ceased to be our home. When God spoke through Moses to the Children of Israel, He said to them, “[Y]ou are but aliens and sojourners with Me.” (Leviticus 24:23) This theme is picked up and echoed in a number of places in the rest of Scripture. (See 1 Chronicles 29:15; Psalm 119:19, 54; Hebrews 11:13; 1 Peter 2:11.) The Apostle Paul tells us that “our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21) As believers in Christ we are, in a very real sense, aliens, strangers, foreigners in this world. That is why Paul says elsewhere, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4) The truth is, we are here to prepare for our true home, where our heart is.
This is not just true for Christians! The Bible says that God has placed eternity in all of our hearts. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) That is why everyone feels strange longings for things that cannot ever be fully found in this world. There are, therefore, two kinds of people: those who are seeking their true, heavenly home and those who still mistakenly think they will find it down here. The former have given up that chase and therefore follow Jesus’ advice to store up their treasure in heaven. This does not lead them to neglect the world and abstract themselves from it. Rather, the reverse is true. They “use this world, as not abusing it.” (1 Corinthians 7:3-KJV
They treat the world as a preparation for their true home. They start practicing now the laws of that country and cultivating the spirit of heaven. They invest their earthly resources not to make themselves as cozy as possible in this world but in helping people to know that they have a loving Savior who died and rose for them and who has gone to prepare a place for them so that where He is, there they may be also. (John 14:1-3) They try to lift the burdens and remove the obstacles in the way of people finding this wonderful God and making heaven their home too. They work to overcome the evils of this world and display the goodness of the Lord for all to see.
Home is where your heart is. Where is your heart today? Where are you laying up treasure?