Matthew writes, “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.”
Luke writes, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Treasure! What does that bring to your mind?
I think of The Count of Monte Christo who finds a great treasure with the instructions of his cellmate given with his dying breath.
People are always giving advice about how to guard wealth. Once you have something of value, you think about how to preserve it. I had a cashmere sweater. Moths found it delicious. “Get a case for that new phone.” “Do you want insurance on that?”
Now we have Jesus giving advice on preserving wealth. He says there is a theft-proof, moth-proof, age-proof wealth. What is it? Luke gives us a start. Give to those who need it. Somehow this will accumulate treasure in heaven.
We can expand on that. What you do, unselfishly, for those in need has heavenly consequences. In another place, Jesus says giving to needs of others is the same as giving to him. He will repay you when the receivers can’t.
Jesus made a very clear statement, “Love one another as I have loved you.” How did he love? He gave people what they wanted, sure. But he was always trying to give them what they really needed.
A woman was condemned by a crowd. Jesus said to her that she was not condemned to a sinful life. She should begin again that moment. To another he said, “Your sins are forgiven.” His problem was that he couldn’t walk. Jesus thought his sins were holding him down. He did heal his body as well. In both situations, the person was at a point where they could listen to Jesus.
Jesus was always stretching the minds of his disciples. Is that our experience? Are we growing in faith? Do our experiences make us stronger?
Our experiences can leave us bitter or they can make us better. When you feel a tug to do good to another, where is that from? Maybe the Spirit of God? Look at Peter. He is requested to go speak in a gentile’s home. He has never done anything like this. But God has reminded him that this gospel is for all people in a dream. He goes. He speaks and things happen that surprise him.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
Each generation takes on the work of Christ. If we follow the leading of the Spirit, we join in the works of God. But look how he says it: Put up treasure for yourselves. It takes faith to trust God to reward you. Can an ordinary human act with God? Yes, we, like Christ, like the apostles, are sent by God to do good in this world. What is your part? What is my part? First, we come to him. Then we go with him.
Two things to remember: First, he has given us a place in his kingdom. We are assured of a welcome into the next life. It is called eternal life.
Second, we have a secure place to accumulate wealth! Add to your reward. God is rich. He pours out his wealth of mercy on you and me. Now, share my wealth with others. Be merciful to others.