Do not store up
for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and
where thieves break in and steal:
(2PPAM) humin thesaurous epi tes ges, hopou ses kai brosis aphanizei,
(3SPAI) kai hopou kleptai diorussousin (3PPAI) kai kleptousin; (3PPAI):
(Job 31:24; Psalms 39:6; 62:10;
Proverbs 11:4; 16:16; 23:5; Ecclesiastes 2:26; 5:10-14; Zeph 1:18; Luke
12:21; 18:24; 1Ti 6:8, 9, 10,17; Hebrews 13:5; James 5:1, 2, 3; 1Jn
2:15,16) Now Jesus addresses the correct
attitude His kingdom citizens should have toward temporal possessions.
Link to art work related to Mt
Treasures in Heaven
Ironside explains that...
All treasures are to be held in
subjection to God and used as He directs. He who is in touch with
eternal realities can well afford to hold earthly possessions with a
loose hand. Worldly wealth soon passes away and leaves him who has
nothing else poor indeed. But those who lay up heavenly treasure by
spending and being spent for God, while numbered perchance among the
poor of this world, will be rich in faith. When life is ended here they
will find endless treasure held in reserve above. The more we distribute
for the blessing of others as guided by the Lord, the more wealth we lay
up in Heaven.
Wilmington entitles this section
only bank that’s fully insured."
Simeon wrote that...
Much of our Lord’s sermon on the
mount was intended to explain the true import of the Law, in opposition
to the false glosses with which the Scribes and Pharisees had obscured
it. But in many parts of it the instruction is general, and unconnected
with any particular persons or circumstances. The Pharisees indeed were
covetous: but the whole human race are more intent on earthly than on
heavenly things; and therefore the exhortation in our text may be
considered as equally important in every age and place. (Horae
Homileticae Volume 11, page 217) (Download
a Pdf of Simeon's bio by H C G Handley Moule)
MATTHEW 6:19-34 THE KING
GIVES COMMANDS AS TO THE CARES OF THIS LIFE He would not have
his servants seeking two objects, and serving two masters. He
calls them away from anxieties about this life to a restful
faith in God 19. Lay not up for yourselves treasures
upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where
thieves break through and steal.
Lay not out your life for gathering wealth: this would be
degrading to you as servants of the heavenly kingdom. It you
accumulate either money or raiment, your treasures will be
liable to “moth and rust ”; and of both you may be deprived by
dishonest men. That earthly things decay, or are taken from
us, is an excellent reason for not making them the great
objects of our pursuit. Hoard not for thieves, gather not for
corruption: accumulate for eternity, and send your treasures
into the land whither you are going. To live for the sake of
growing rich is a gilded death in life. (Commentary)
THE King having declared
the laws of human inter-relationship, and having dealt with
the principles of Divine relationship, proceeded to the
discussion of the attitude of His subjects towards earthly
things. The subjects of the Kingdom still have necessary
relationships with the earth. They are spiritually minded, but
they have to touch material things. However much the inner
life may be, and ought to be, in communion with that which is
essentially spiritual, we can only continue to live at all as
we touch and handle things which are seen and temporal.
The Manifesto of the King
proceeds, therefore, to make clear what our relationship ought
to be to the material things by which we are surrounded, and
with which we have to deal.
Here, as on all former
occasions, there is a remarkable absence of rules, but there
is the clearest revelation of principle. Not by legal
enactments, formulated, tabulated, and learned by heart; but
rather by the creation of an atmosphere, and the indication of
an attitude, does the King correct and condition our
relationship to the things of the present life.
Broadly, He teaches that,
in all contact of His subjects with earthly things, they must
be dominated by a super-earthly consciousness. Men must deal
with the wealth of the world, but if their consciousness is
conditioned merely within that material wealth, they fail. If
all their dealing with wealth is motivated by, and conditioned
within a spiritual conception, then they will have found the
deepest secret of life, and fulfilled the highest purpose of
their Master. Men must have food to eat, must have clothes to
wear; but if they spend all their days thinking about what
they shall eat, or what they shall wear, they are not
understanding or realizing the ethic of
If, on the other hand, they
recognize their Father's recognition of their need, and trust
it; and then seek the Kingdom, in matters of food and in
clothing, they are living in the realm of the true morality.
This section consists of
two parts, each characterized by warning and instruction.
- The first is a revelation
of the attitude of the subjects of the Kingdom toward wealth
they are to be without covetousness.
- In the second section,
which we shall take for our next study, the attitude of the
same subjects toward necessary things is indicated they are to
be without care.
This is the whole of His
will for His people. This is not irrational; He proves it to
be reasonable. This is not an appeal to credulity; it is a
call for faith. This is not fatalism; it is the essence of
fidelity, fidelity to the principles afore enunciated, to the
purposes perpetually revealed, and to the great Lord and
Master to Whom allegiance is owned. (Matthew
Do not store
up - Do have this habit!
Some of His listeners were doing this! Jesus does not say we cannot have a
retirement plan but is saying that the retirement plan is not to be the object or goal of
our life's work. As an aside, it is difficult to find Biblical support
for retirement per se. I am "retired" but am now busier in the
Lord's work than I was in medical practice (be stimulated and encouraged
by Paul's words in 1Co 15:58). Remember that in this
section Jesus is giving us His divine advice on how to handle anxiety
and worry. He is fully aware that anxiety and worry often have their
genesis (pathogenesis!) in regard to financial matters. And so He begins
by advising us not to be in the habit of treasuring up treasure for
ourselves. As Wycliffe rendered the Greek...
to you treasures
Spurgeon - Hold not earth's treasures with too
firm a grasp. Our bereavements would not be half so sharp if we always
viewed our friends as being lent to us. A man does not cry when he has
to return a tool which he has borrowed.
comments on the radical nature of Jesus' advice noting that...
In Mt 6:19, 20, 21 Jesus contravenes all
human advice to provide for a financially secure future. (MacDonald,
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson or
words by Jesus are so appropriate to our wealthy Western culture where
possessions often end up possessing their "owners".
Or stated another way, it is not wrong to possess things, but it is
wrong for things to possess us. The desire of many
in our society is to build our lives around the "things" we own. In
Jesus' day Luke records that the Pharisees were "lovers of money" (Luke
Matthew Henry had a pithy
statement regarding riches writing that...
Man takes great pains to heap up
riches, and they are like heaps of manure in the furrows of the field,
good for nothing unless they be spread.
Keener writes that..
One researcher suggests that
professed followers of Christ take in 68 percent of the world’s income,
yet only 3 percent of that goes to the church and a tiny percentage to
world missions. (Keener, C. S. Vol. 1: Matthew. The IVP New Testament
Commentary Series. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press)
uncommonly we make an arbitrary division of our life into that which is
spiritual and that which is material. Jesus demolishes that division
in this section declaring that in the final analysis one's heart
attitude toward material things is a mark of one's true spiritual
condition. Material and spiritual cannot be separated. As an aside,
attending church on Sunday (the "spiritual activity") should not and
ultimately cannot be separated from how one conducts themselves Monday
through Friday. This latter in fact is probably a more genuine
assessment of one's spiritual condition then their regular attendance at
church or Sunday School. Religion that is not real is just
that...lifeless religion! Religion that involves a vital relationship
with Christ 24/7 is real life!
G Campbell Morgan...
First as to CHRIST's distinct
command, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth." The same word
occurs twice; in the one case as verb, and in the other as substantive.
We come nearer to an appreciation of what He said when we read,
"Treasure not up treasures upon the earth, but treasure for yourselves
treasure in heaven."
The simple idea of the word treasure
is that of placing something somewhere; but it is in striking contrast
to other words which also mean to place something somewhere. There is a
peculiar quality in the Greek word which is not suggested by our word
"treasure." Very literally the idea is to place something horizontally.
There are other Greek words which mean to place something
perpendicularly. Here we have an instance of the figurative element in
What was meant by placing
horizontally? To place in a passive condition, as the word which
indicates to place something perpendicularly means putting it in an
active relationship. This word means to lay something aside horizontally
that is, to store something up, to keep it; not to place something
perpendicularly, ready for activity and work, but to hoard it.
It is the laying of things up, one
thing upon another, piece upon piece, horizontally, that we may possess
them, take care of them, and accumulate them. Every boy remembers that
he has often been told, that the miser says coins are flat that they may
rest; and the spendthrift says they are round that they may roll.
Now the King does not say that it is
wrong to lay up, for while He says "treasure not up," He also says
We need to recognize the positive as
well as the negative part of the command.
The common capacity to which He is
here appealing is that of the passion for possession. There is not a
single capacity of human life wrong inherently. The abuse of it, the
misuse of it, is wrong. Whenever we see a man passionately desirous of
possession we may say: That is all right. It may be made all wrong by
his method and motive; by the way in which he attempts to possess, and
the purpose for which he desires to possess. It is always the purpose at
the back of things which matters. The King does not begin with
externalities; He gets back to the deepest thing in a man's life, and
deals with that.
It is as though He said: You have a
passion to possess wealth, you want to be able to place things
horizontally; and it is quite right that you should do so GOD made you
so. Being, having, doing; that is the story of human life. There is no
Beatitude on possessing, but possession may be sanctified.
We want to make our fortunes. We have
desires as passionate as those of any man to possess. And the nearer we
come to our Lord, and the more we know of the indwelling Spirit, the
more powerfully is the passion to possess burning in our heart and life.
But the question of importance is as to the principle upon which we seek
- Passion without principle burns out
- Principle without passion
sterilizes it, and makes it hard and cold and stony.
That is a great word in the book of
Ezekiel, spoken to the Prince of Tyre: "I will destroy thee, O covering
cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire."
What a strange bringing together of
contradiction! "Stones of fire."
- A stone is the last embodiment of
principle hard and cold.
- Fire is of the essence of passion
warm and energizing.
Put the two together, and we have
stones principle; fire passion; principle shot through with passion,
passion held by principle. Men have the passion to possess, to treasure
up. What principle is going to govern us? That is the matter with which
the Master is dealing. The principle revealed is not that it is wrong to
lay up treasures for ourselves, for when the Master comes to the
positive statement, He distinctly says, "Lay up for yourselves." We have
not yet discovered the secret.
It is discovered in the phrases,
"Treasures upon earth." "Treasures in heaven."
CHRIST says to His subjects, You are
to fulfil that passion for possession by making your
fortune, not for the present, the
perishing, the passing; but for the future, the lasting, and the
You are to remember, with the passion
burning within you, that you are not the child of to-day, you are not of
the earth, you are more than dust; you are the child of tomorrow, you
are of the eternities, you are the offspring of Deity. The measurements
of your lives cannot be circumscribed by the point where blue sky kisses
green earth. All the fact of your life cannot be encompassed in the one
small sphere upon which you live. You belong to the infinite.
If you make your fortune on the
earth, poor, sorry, silly soul, you have made a fortune, and stored it,
in a place where you cannot hold it. Make your fortune, but store it
where it will greet you in the dawning of the new morning, when old
earth passes from you. Make your fortune there. Possess not the things
of the now; but the things of the now and the forever.
In dealing with CHRIST's comparison
of values, we must allow for the Eastern coloring. Wealth consisted in
those days very largely of fabrics, purple and fine twined linen: and
the King says, I will tell you the story of them moths! That is a fine
touch of tender sarcasm. There is no anger in it. There is no thunder in
it. It is a fine play of the summer lightning. Moths! Your immortal life
cannot be hurt by a moth; do not try to enrich it with stuff which moths
Or, if you will take some other
currency, such as metal, store it up, lay it horizontally, pile it up,
make it your treasure. The King says, Rust! What is rust? Fire. Present
in all things is this eremacausis, this slowly burning fire, which eats
into, disintegrates your most solid metal, melting it into azure air.
The subjects of the King are not to try and make themselves rich with
things which the frail moth can ruin, and the silent rust destroy.
And once again, "Where thieves break through and steal."
We need not dwell upon that. That is
so modern that it needs no exposition.
What does JESUS say about the storing
of the heavenly, about the laying up of treasure in heaven? Nothing
positive; it is all negative, but thank GOD for the negatives of the
spiritual world. No moth, no rust, no thief. If we can only store the
true riches, as we work and toil, we shall know that no moth can ever
eat the garment, or destroying fire touch the fine gold, or marauding
thief rob us of that which is our own. (Matthew
Martin Luther wrote
Whenever the Gospel is taught and
people seek to live according to it, there are two terrible plagues that
always arise: false preachers who corrupt the teaching, and then Sir
Greed, who obstructs right living.
Leon Morris quotes Glover
reminds us that “avarice is the vice
of respectability.” Whether they are rich or poor, people see no harm in
concentrating on getting more. Everyone has some “treasure,” the main
object in life. Jesus is asking whether that is to be the transient or
the eternal, and he warns that earthly riches may disappear. (The
Gospel According to Matthew. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press)
Matthew Henry introduces
this section commenting that...
Worldly-mindedness is as common and
as fatal a symptom of hypocrisy as any other, for by no sin can Satan
have a surer and faster hold of the soul, under the cloak of a visible
and passable profession of religion, than by this; and therefore Christ,
having warned us against coveting the praise of men, proceeds next to
warn us against coveting the wealth of the world; in this also we must
take heed, lest we be as the hypocrites are, and do as they do: the
fundamental error that they are guilty of is, that they choose the world
for their reward; we must therefore take heed of hypocrisy and
worldly-mindedness, in the choice we make of our treasure, our end, and
summarizes Mt 6:19-34 writing that...
"Seek first the
kingdom of God and his righteousness" is the large, overarching command
– be passionate about experiencing the saving, purifying, empowering,
love-producing, reign of God in your life and over all the world. "Thy
kingdom come!" – in my life, and over the nations.
Then "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven" is a specific instance
of what seeking God’s kingdom involves. Seeking the kingdom of God and
his righteousness involves not trying to be rich on earth but trying to
be rich in heaven, that is, rich in God. Seeking the kingdom means
treasuring God and freeing yourself from the drag of earth.
Then "Do not be anxious" is the condition of the heart by which we break
free from our addiction to earth-treasure and give ourselves with
passion to heaven-treasure. By faith in his promises God frees us from
anxiety, and in this freedom we don’t crave treasures on earth anymore.
Those are the three main imperatives in the text. That is what Jesus
wants us to be like: Free from anxiety, seeking his kingdom, laying up
treasure in heaven and not on earth. That is the fruit of trusting Jesus
as our Lord and Savior and Treasure. This is the normal Christian life –
radical freedom from earthly things and earthly security, with a joyful
pursuit of God and his righteousness as our treasure. Everything else in
these 16 verses is foundation and support. Jesus doesn’t just tell us to
be this way; he gives us at least 12 arguments to help us. And he spends
most of his time giving us reasons not to be anxious in verses 25-34.
(Read the full message Matthew 6:19-34: Don’t Be
Anxious, Lay Up Treasures in Heaven)
Adam Clarke - What blindness is it for a man to lay
up that as a treasure which must necessarily perish! A heart designed
for God and eternity is terribly degraded by being fixed on those things
which are subject to corruption....Take care not to shut up your bowels
of compassion against a brother in distress; if you do, the love of God
cannot dwell in you.
- Worldly ambition has a strong
fascination for us. The spell of materialism is very hard to break (Stott,
John: Christian Counter-Culture. The Message of the Sermon on the Mount.
illness takes on a macabre humor in the popular bumper sticker which
"He who dies with the most toys
(thesaurizo from thesaurós = treasure)
originally meant to amass or reserve, keep in store, lay, store or treasure up
goods for future use. Later thesaurizo was expanded to
denote a chamber or chest in which treasure was kept. Throughout the
ancient Middle East it was especially applied to a temple storehouse,
where temple taxes were stored. People were required to give a portion
of their produce to the temple, and this was stored in a treasury.
Finally thesaurizo also meant private money boxes, the early
versions of home safes.
The root word
thesauros means that which is deposited = a place where something is
kept and gives our English word thesaurus, a treasury of words. In secular Greek
thesauros means a treasure chamber, a storage room, storehouse,
granary, strong-box or a treasure per se. Sometimes thesauros was used
metaphorically of the treasure itself (Mt. 2:11; 19:21; Mk 10:21;
Lk 6:45). Even at a very early period temples were built with treasure
chambers, where gifts and taxes in kind and money could be stored. The
practice appears to have spread from Egypt to Greece. Collecting boxes
were also known (cf. 2Ki 12:10).
The verb thesaurizo
is used similarly in the sense of (1) storing up as treasure or
offerings of money put aside (1Co 16:2 = teaches
proportional giving, regular giving, and the church's role in receiving
gifts.) or (2) putting it in
safe keeping. Keep something in store (eg, present heavens and earth are
being kept in store for future wrath in His day of judgment - 2Pe 3:7-note)!
Paul has a similar figurative use referring to God's wrath which is
being "treasured" up (Ro 2:5-note)!
Thayer writes that thesaurizo
means primarily to to gather and lay up, to heap up, store up: to
accumulate riches (Jas 5:3, Lk 12:21, 2Co 12:14, 1Cor 16:2).
MacArthur - The Greek also carries the
connotation of stacking or laying out horizontally, as one stacks coins.
In the context of this passage the idea is that of stockpiling or
hoarding, and therefore pictures wealth that is not being used. The
money or other wealth is simply stored for safekeeping; it is kept for
the keeping’s sake to make a show of wealth or to create an environment
of lazy overindulgence (cf. Luke 12:16-21).
Matthew 1-7 Macarthur New Testament Commentary
Chicago: Moody Press)
Thesaurizo - 8x in 8v - Mt
6:19, 20; Lk 12:21; Ro 2:5; 1Cor 16:2; 2Cor 12:14; Jas 5:3; 2Pe 3:7
6:19 "Do not lay up
for yourselves treasures
upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and
steal. 20 "But lay up
for yourselves treasures
in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do
not break in or steal;
Luke 12:21 "So (Conclusion based on the parable in Lk 12:16, 17, 18, 19,
20) is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich
toward God." Who are you
"rich toward"? The transient world or the eternal God?
But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are
storing up (present
continuous - pictures the cup of wrath continually being filled to one
day poured out upon the one whose filled it with evil thoughts and
deeds! What a dreadful picture!) wrath for yourself in the day of wrath
and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,
1Corinthians 16:2 On the first day of every week let each one of you put
aside and save, as he may prosper (this teaches the principle of
proportionate giving), that no collections be made when I come.
2Corinthians 12:14 Here for this third time I am ready to come to you,
and I will not be a burden to you; for I do not seek what is yours, but
you; for children are not responsible to save up for their
parents, but parents for their children.
James 5:3 Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be
a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in
the last days that you have stored up your
But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for
fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly
Thesaurizo - 9x in the
- 2Ki 20:17; Ps 39:6; Pr 1:18;
2:7; 13:22; 16:27; Amos 3:10; Mic 6:10; Zech 9:3
Psalm 39:6 "Surely every man walks
about as a phantom; Surely they make an uproar for nothing; He
amasses riches (Lxx = thesaurizo), and does not know who will gather
Surely every man walks in a vain show. Life is but a passing
pageant. This alone is sure, that nothing is sure. All around us shadows
mock us; we walk among them, and too many live for them as if the
mocking images were substantial; acting their borrowed parts with zeal
fit only to be spent on realities, and lost upon the phantoms of this
passing scene. Worldly men walk like travelers in a mirage, deluded,
duped, deceived, soon to be filled with disappointment and despair.
Surely they are disquieted in vain. Men fret, and fume, and worry, and
all for mere nothing. They are shadows pursuing shadows, while death
pursues them. He who toils and contrives, and wearies himself for gold,
for fame, for rank, even if he wins his desire, finds at the end of his
labor lost; for like the treasure of the miser's dream, it all vanishes
when the man awakes in the world of reality.
Read well this text, and then listen to the clamor of the market, the
hum of the exchange, the din of the city streets, and remember that all
this noise (for so the word means), this breach of quiet, is made about
unsubstantial, fleeting vanities.
Broken rest, anxious fear, over worked brain, failing mind, lunacy,
these are the steps in the process of disquieting with many, and all to
be rich, or, in other words, to load one's self with the thick clay;
clay, too, which a man must leave so soon.
He heaps up riches, and knows not
who shall gather them. He misses often the result of his ventures,
for there are many slips between the cup and the lips. His wheat is
sheaved, but an interloping robber bears it away -- as often happens
with the poor Eastern husbandman; or, the wheat is even stored, but the
invader feasts thereon. Many work for others all unknown to them.
Especially does this verse refer to those all gathering muckrakes, who
in due time are succeeded by all scattering forks, which scatter riches
as profusely as their sires gathered them parsimoniously. We know not
our heirs, for our children die, and strangers fill the old ancestral
halls; estates change hands, and entail, though riveted with a thousand
bonds, yields to the corroding power of time. Men rise up early and sit
up late to build a house, and then the stranger tramps along its
passages, laughs in its chambers, and forgetful of its first builder,
calls it all his own. Here is one of the evils under the sun for which
no remedy can be prescribed.
He heaps up riches. This is
the great foolishness and disease especially of old age, that the less
way a man has to go, he makes the greater provision for it. When the
hands are stiff, and fit for no other labor, they are fitted and
composed for scraping together. Robert Leighton.
He heaps up riches. The Hebrew word rendered, He heaps up,
signifies to rake together; in which there is an allusion to the
husbandman's collecting his corn together before he carries it to the
barn. The metaphor is elegant, intimating the precariousness of human
life, and the vanity of human acquisitions; which though heaped up
together like corn, by one person, may soon become the possession of
another. Samuel Burder.
Proverbs 2:7 He stores up (Lxx
= thesaurizo) sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who
walk in integrity, (see Pr 2:7NLT)
Amos 3:10ESV "They do not know how to
do right," declares the LORD, "those who store up violence and robbery
in their strongholds."
Here are all 16 uses of the root
noun thesauros - Mt2:11, 6:19, 20, 21 12:35, 13:44, 52, 19:21
Mk10:21, Lk 6:45, 12:33, 34, 18:22 2Co 4:7, Col 2:3, Heb 11:26.
Richards writes that this
word group (thesaurizo/thesauros)
speaks of that which is stored up and
saved by human beings as especially precious. The NT makes it clear that
God's value system is different from that of human beings; thus, often
what human beings treasure has little value to him.
L O: Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency)
Detzler writes that...
Greek Old Testament the word
was used to describe wealth which was amassed. Later it also took on a
more figurative meaning. Alms given to the poor were seen to be a
treasure given to God. This is reflected brightly in the New Testament
teaching of Christ.
There is also an emphasis in the New
Testament on the transient nature of treasure. In the great Westminster
Abbey of the faithful, the writer of Hebrews reminded his readers that
Moses gave up the treasures of Egypt for the pleasures of eternity (Heb.
11:25, 26). James warned his readers that treasures will corrupt and
rust, if they are not passed on in wages to the workers (James 5:3)...
The content of one's mind and heart
is also seen as a treasure (cp Mt 12:34). A good person brings forth
good from this treasury (thesauros), but an evil person spews out sin
(Mt 12:35). This is especially seen in the words one utters. Paul
returned to this theme when he spoke of the Gospel. To him the Gospel
was an inestimable treasure. God gave it to His people, in order that
they might pass it on to the world. This treasure (thesauros) is like a
precious stone kept in a crockery pot (2Cor 4:7). In other words, the
value is in the treasure, not the pot. The value in us is the Gospel,
not our physical bodies.
Jesus Christ is seen as the repository of all treasure. In fact, Paul
insisted that all the treasures (thesauros) of God are hidden in Christ
Jesus (Col 2:3). When one seeks basic wisdom and knowledge, Christ must
be the source, for He personifies all the wisdom and knowledge of God.
In the Scriptures treasure has two
basic meanings. First, it is material treasure which has a short life
and must be left on earth. Second, it is spiritual treasure. If we serve
the Lord our treasure will pay eternal dividends, but if we serve Satan
our treasure of sin will pay out an eternal penalty. (New Testament
Words in Today's Language)
Mt 6:19 is a play on words and is
more literally translated
treasuring up treasures for yourselves
Here in Mt 6:19, the
with a negative (me) is a command to stop some action already in
process! Don't have the habit of storing up temporal treasure on earth!
Stop storing up temporal, perishable treasure, which you cannot take
with you to heaven!
Have you ever seen a U-haul
trailer attached to the hearse? Did you know that funeral shrouds
(burial garment) don't have any pockets? Why would they need them?
Job understood these truths and
upon loosing unspeakable wealth including his children, he declared...
"Naked I came from my mother's womb,
and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken
away. Blessed be the name of the LORD." (Job 1:21)
The saying is
true...You can't take it with you!
See related comments by Warren
Wiersbe on Psalm 49:13 -
Don't Trust in Wealth
Jesus is not
advocating financial poverty as a means of attaining spirituality. The
problem He is addressing is when one accumulates wealth for "yourselves",
for that is when money which is otherwise neutral becomes one's "god" or
Simeon adds the caveat that...
This is not to be understood as
though there were no situation or circumstances wherein it were
allowable to lay up money: for it is certainly the duty of all persons
to make provision for those whose subsistence depends upon them: those
who should refuse to support their aged parents or relatives would be
deemed worse than infidels: nor, by parity of reasoning, can they be
considered as acting more suitably to their Christian profession who
neglect to make a necessary provision for their children.
(Horae Homileticae Volume 11, page
Jesus is not teaching that
believers are to be careless in handling their money. Solid financial
plans produce good stewards of the earthly resources that God has
entrusted to us.
commenting on treasure on earth wrote that...
We are not to lay up “treasures.”
What is necessary for the carrying on of our trade, or for the
supporting of ourselves in old age, or for the enabling of our family to
maintain that rank of life wherein they have been educated, may be
considered as allowable: but what is laid up for the sake of enriching
and aggrandizing our family, may be justly included in the prohibition
before us. Of course, no precise sum can be fixed; because what would be
wealth to one man, would be poverty to another: but whatever argues
discontent, and a desire of elevating ourselves and our families above
the rank which Providence has allotted us in life, should be regarded
with a jealous eye and a trembling heart...
Christianity does not require a man
to cast away, or even to give away, his paternal inheritance, or all the
fruits of his own labour: but it absolutely forbids him to find delight
in treasuring up his wealth, or in looking to it as a source either of
safety or happiness. (Horae Homileticae Volume 11, page 217)
advises believers to...
Hold not earth's treasures with too
firm a grasp. Our bereavements would not be half so sharp if we always
viewed our friends as being lent to us. A man does not cry when he has
to return a tool which he has borrowed
Christ here first teaches us how to
pray, and then teaches us how really to live. He turns our thoughts from
the object in life which allures and injures so many, but which is,
after all, an object unworthy of our search; and he bids us seek
something higher and better: “Lay up for yourselves treasures in
Moth...rust...thieves - Jesus' point in this passage is that there
is no absolutely firm, unshakeable security to be found in material
things, which is ironic as "securities" is a financial term defined as
instruments giving to their legal holders rights to money or other
property. Securities include stocks, bonds, notes, mortgages, bills of
lading, and bills of exchange. Jesus is not condemning good stewardship
and wise investment in "securities" but is addressing our heart attitude
towards our "securities". Beloved, ask yourself...
"Where is my treasure?"
(If you need help answering this question, just take a look at last
month's credit card charges or look at the checks you wrote over the
past 6 months!) Your answer will tell you indisputably where your heart
is. And where your heart is will impact your level of anxiety and/or
worry. Beloved, I pray we as believers each invest wisely placing our
funds (including our time and talent) into the "bank of heaven", which
returns dividends now (e.g., affecting one's level of anxiety and/or
worry over money and possessions, etc) and will continue to pay
"interest" throughout eternity! Have you ever heard of such a fantastic,
"sure", "can't miss" deal! But like most "bargain deals" there are no
"rain checks" available! Once this life is over, the opportunity for
this "sale" ceases. Invest now in the only true security! Invest for
eternity in Jesus Christ! You will never regret your decision if you
Knowing your future is secure
minces no words declaring that...
This teaching forces us to decide if
Jesus meant what He said. If He did, then we face the question, “What
are we going to do with our earthly treasures?” If He didn’t, then we
face the question, “What are we going to do with our Bible?” (Ibid)
Wiersbe offers some wise words on this section...
Materialism will enslave the heart
(Matt. 6:19-21), the mind (Matt. 6:22-23), and the will (Mt 6:24). We
can become shackled by the material things of life, but we ought to be
liberated and controlled by the Spirit of God. If the heart loves
material things, and puts earthly gain above heavenly investments, then
the result can only be a tragic loss. The treasures of earth may be used
for God. But if we gather material things for ourselves, we will lose
them; and we will lose our hearts with them. Instead of spiritual
enrichment, we will experience impoverishment. (Wiersbe,
W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor
As background to
help understanding Jesus' words in this section it is notable that
in Jesus' day men would invest in possessions like clothing, grain,
gold, and precious stones, which then comprised a source of security
with which they sought to lessen anxiety about the future. The irony of
possessions is that instead of minimizing anxiety, the possessions
become a source of anxiety (sometimes even great angst!), since they are
always vulnerable to the vagaries of decay and loss! How true is the
paradox of insecure security!
Brown adds that...
The Palestinian archaeologist
sometimes finds hoards of coins in the remains of ancient houses. More
frequently he finds only traces of such hoards. The ancient peasant or
laborer had very little opportunity to use hard money; and when it came
into his hands, his instinct was to bury it rather than spend it. He was
especially moved to hide his little store of coins at times of political
disturbance: and there was always the danger of thieves or robbers. (The
Jerome Biblical Commentary)
(ses) is from the
larger division of order
(Moths, skippers, and
butterflies all belong to this order for all have scale-covered wings) distinguished
from butterflies by generally nocturnal activity and antennae which are
not club-shaped. The moth larva in many cases spins a cocoon for the
protection of the pupa or chrysalis, which is never the case with
butterflies. In the Bible the clothes-moth (species of genus Tinea) are
relatively tiny insects which lay eggs in woolen clothes upon which the
larvae later feed. Have you not experienced this distressing truth on
Sunday morning when you pulled your suit pants on only to see several
large irregular holes exposing your skin?! The moth larva feeds and
composes a cocoon of its silk together with fibers of the wool it is
eating, so that the color of the cocoon depends upon the color of the
fabric! Only the larval stage injures clothing. Take my word for it - a
significantly moth eaten garment is virtually beyond repair or at best
must be re-knit which is not cheap!
Several moth species in the family
are commonly regarded as pests because their larvae eat fabric such as
clothes and blankets made from natural proteinaceous fibers such as wool
or silk. They are less likely to eat mixed materials containing
artificial fibers. There are some reports that they can be repelled by
the scent of wood from juniper and cedar, by lavender or by other
natural oils. However, many consider this unlikely to prevent
(the chemical used in
is considered more effective, but there are concerns over its effects on
health. Moth larvae are not killed by freezing the items which they
infest. (from article on
economic significance of moths -
Ses - 3x in 3v in the NT -
Mt 6:19, 20; Luke 12:33
The NET note says that
refers to moths in general. It is
specifically the larvae of moths that destroy clothing by eating holes
in it (L&N 4.49; BDAG 922 s.v.). See Jas 5:2 (see below), which mentions
minced no words in his address to the worldly rich instructing them
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for
your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and
your garments have become moth-eaten (setobrotos from ses = moth
+ bibrosko = to eat). Your gold and your silver
have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you
and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you
have stored up your treasure! (James 5:1-3)
occurs 7 times in the
Septuagint (LXX) always as a figure of speech to illustrate that
which is destructive (Job 13:28; Psalms 39:11; Isaiah 50:9; 51:8; Hosea
5:12) or frail (Job 4:19; 27:18).
Why would Jesus
mention "moth"? The ancient world greatly valued clothing and it was to
some extent a measure of an individual's wealth. Today, most people can
buy mass manufactured clothing with little difficulty, but as one can
imagine such was not the case when clothing was made by hand. In fact
sometime the rich would have golden threads actually woven into
their clothing, to display as well as store their wealth! The best
quality fabrics were woven with wool, one of the favorite entrees of
moth larvae, making their fine clothes vulnerable to destruction.
the metaphor of "moth eaten" declaring...
I waste away like rotting wood, like
a moth-eaten coat. (Job 13:28, NLT)
See, the Sovereign LORD is on my
side! Who will declare me guilty? All my enemies will be destroyed like
old clothes that have been eaten by moths! (Isaiah 50:9, NLT)
For the moth will eat them
(sinful, unrepentant men) like a garment, and the grub will eat them
like wool. But My righteousness shall be forever, And My salvation to
all generations." (Isaiah 51:8)
the destructive nature of the moth to describe His effect on rebellious
Israel and Judah declaring...
I will destroy Israel as a moth
consumes wool. I will sap Judah's strength as dry rot weakens wood.
(Hosea 5:12, NLT)
(brosis from bibrosko = to eat)
literally means something that
eats ("an eating") or gnaws. The main NT use refers to
the act of partaking of food (eating) (Ro 14:17, 1Co 8:4, 2Co 9:10, Col
2:16). Brosis can refer to that which one eats (In Lxx - Ge 25:28, Jer
41:20, 2Sa 19:43), and thus can mean a "meal" as in (He 12:16). Jesus uses
brosis to mean food but with a figurative meaning in Jn 4:32; 6:27,
In Mt 6:19, 20 brosis is
used figuratively to describe that which causes erosion or
corrosion (Compare the interesting derivation of the English word corrode
from Latin rodo = to gnaw.)
Strictly speaking rust is the red
oxide of iron formed by the corrosion of that metal, but by extension it
has come to mean corrosion produced on any metal. The word brosis,
while possibly alluding the effects of rusting, also refers to the
diseases which attack such wheat, grapes, cucumbers, etc. In no country
is the saying "where moth and rust consume" more true than in Syria. Any
metal subject to corrosion seems to rust faster in that country than
anywhere else. There are also many rusting fungi which the people have
not learned to destroy and which do much damage to the crops. Given the
fact that wealth in Jesus' day was often measured in grain supplies one
owned, the allusion to the destructive effects of various agents (fungi,
molds, rats, mice, worms, etc) on the granaries.
Brosis - 11x in 10v in the
NT and translated by as eating(2), food(6), meal(1), rust(2).
6:19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and
rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 "But lay
up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust
destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;
John 4:32 But He said to them, "I have food to eat that you do
not know about."
For Jesus, doing God’s will is His inner nourishment and should be ours
John 6:27 "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the
food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall
give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal."
John 6:55 "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.
In the previous two uses of brosis, Jesus feeding of physical food spoke
to the deeper need of man, the need for spiritual food, which nourishes
to eternal life and is received by faith in Him ("the Bread of life" -
Jn 6:35, 48)
for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but
righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
The kingdom of God does not
consist in observing or not observing days, eating or not eating meats,
or any other secondary issues of religious scruples. The kingdom of God
is not externals but eternals. What really counts in the kingdom of God
is not EXTERNAL REGULATIONS but ETERNAL REALITIES.
Are you focusing on the externals
of religion or the eternals?
Earle adds that "The principle is clearly stated, though too often
forgotten. The kingdom of God, or true religion, is not a matter of
externals—how we dress or eat. It is rather "righteousness, and peace,
and joy in the Holy Ghost." Those who major on externals are prone not
to show a right spirit, nor to maintain peace. And too often their lives
do not radiate the joy of the risen Christ." (Earle, R. Word Meanings in
the New Testament)
1 Corinthians 8:4 Therefore concerning the eating of things
sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in
the world, and that there is no God but one.
2 Corinthians 9:10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for
food, will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase
the harvest of your righteousness;
Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink
or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day--
Expositor's Greek Testament comments: ‘eating and drinking,’ not
food and drink, for which Paul would have used broma and poma.
The question is not altogether between lawful and unlawful food, but
between eating and drinking or abstinence. Asceticism rather than
ritual cleanness is in his mind. The Law is not ascetic in its
character, its prohibitions of meats rests on the view that they are
unclean, and drinks are forbidden, save in exceptional cases, and then
not for ascetic reasons. But these injunctions stand along with
ordinances of the Law itself, partly, because they may have been
regarded as extensions of its principles, partly, we may suppose,
because, like the Law, they were attributed to the angels by the false
that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own
birthright for a single meal.
Brosis - 43 uses in the
Gen 1:29f; 2:9, 16; 3:6; 9:3; 25:28; 47:24; Lev 7:24; 19:7; 25:7; Deut
32:24; 1 Sam 2:28; 2 Sam 16:2; 19:42; 1 Kgs 19:8; Job 33:20; 34:3; Ps
14:4; 44:11; 53:4; 78:30; 104:21; Isa 55:10; Jer 7:33; 15:3; 19:7;
34:20; Lam 1:11, 19; 4:10; Ezek 47:12; Dan 1:10; Hab 3:17; Mal 3:11;
records an example of the ancient association of grain with wealth in
The land of a certain rich man was
very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, 'What shall
I do, since I have no place to store my crops?' And he said, 'This is
what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and
there I will store all my grain and my goods. 'And I will say to my
soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take
your ease, eat, drink and be merry."' But God said to him, 'You fool!
This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what
you have prepared?' So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and
is not rich toward God. (Luke 12:16-21)
Barclay writes that
literally means an eating away, but
it is nowhere else used to mean rust. Most likely the picture is this.
In the east many a man’s wealth consisted in the corn and the grain that
he had stored away in his great barns. But into that corn and grain
there could come the worms and the rats and the mice, until the store
was polluted and destroyed. In all probability the reference is to the
way in which rats, and mice, and worms, and other vermin, could get into
a granary and eat away the grain. There was no permanence about
possessions like that.
The Exegetical Dictionary
says that brosis "refers not only to eating as a human
activity and consumption by insects, but also the food itself,
particularly in John (then in proximity to broma). Especially in John
the level of literal meaning is lost, and brosis is used in a fig.
sense. In the aphoristic saying in Mt 6:19, 20., brosis, in connection
with ses (moth), can only mean eating by insects (cf. Mal 3:11), whose
activity works destructively and therefore prohibits the hoarding and
collecting of earthly things. (Balz, H. R., & Schneider, G.
Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. 1:229. Grand Rapids, Mich.:
(aphanizo from aphanes
= hidden or literally "not appearing" from a = without +
phaino = to appear) means to cause to vanish, make disappear.
To make unseen. To render
invisible or unrecognizable. Aphanizo can also mean to destroy in
the active voice and in the passive voice to be removed out of sight or
to become invisible (Jas 4:14).
Vine adds that aphanizo
literally, “to cause to
disappear, put out of sight,” came to mean “to do away with” (a,
negative, phaino, “to cause to appear”), said of the destructive work of
moth and rust, Matt. 6:19, 20 (rv, “consume,” kjv, “corrupt”)
W E: Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament
Words. 1996. Nelson)
Metaphorically, the idea of
aphanizo is to destroy (as the value or use of something), to
corrupt, to spoil, as does the moth or canker. The process does not
result in annihilation but simply changes whatever is affected from one
state to another. Destruction means the cessation of being what a thing
is and taking another form of existence, but in context a form that is
no longer useful to the owner! This truth makes the following Proverb
even more poignant...
one of the richest men of antiquity
exhorts the wise reader to...
Cast but a glance at riches, and
they are gone. For they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.
(Pr 23:5, NIV)
Aphanizo - 5 uses rendered
in as destroy(1), destroys(1), neglect (1), perish(1), vanishes
6:16 "And whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the
hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance (NET = they
make their faces unattractive; ESV = they disfigure
their faces) in order to be seen fasting by men. Truly I say to you,
they have their reward in full.
In this verse aphanizo means to make unsightly, to disfigure, to
make ugly, to cause to be unattractive.
Matthew 6:19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where
moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
Matthew 6:20 "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where
neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in
Acts 13:41 'Behold, you scoffers, and marvel, and
For I am accomplishing a work in your days, A work which you will never
believe, though someone should describe it to you.'"
Here aphanizo means to be so completely destroyed as not to be
James 4:14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You
are just a vapor that appears (phaino
- has light, shines forth, and thus is seen. Literally phaino is a
participle = "appearing") for a little while and then vanishes
away. (Literally aphanizo is also a participle = vanishing.
Note word play with phaino since aphanizo = a +
commenting on aphanizo adds that this is...
The same word
which is used above of the hypocrites concealing their faces (Mt 6:16-note). The rust
consumes, and therefore causes to disappear.
Aphanizo has 78 uses in
- Ex 8:9; 12:15; 21:29,
36; Deut 7:2; 13:5; 19:1; Judg 21:16; 1 Sam 24:21; 2 Sam 21:5; 22:38; 2
Kgs 10:17, 28; 21:9; Ezra 6:12; Esther 3:6, 13; 4:17; 9:24; Job 2:9;
4:9; 22:20; 39:24; Ps 94:23; 146:9; Prov 10:25; 12:7; 14:11; 30:10; Song
2:15; Jer 4:26; 12:4, 11; 47:4; 50:21, 45; 51:3; Lam 1:4, 13, 16; 3:11;
4:5; 5:18; Ezek 4:17; 6:6; 12:19; 14:9; 19:7; 20:26; 25:3; 30:9; 34:25;
36:4f, 34ff; Dan 2:44; 7:26; 8:25; 11:31, 44; Hos 2:12; 5:15; 10:2;
13:16; Joel 1:17f; 2:20; Amos 7:9; 9:14; Mic 5:14; 6:13, 15; Hab 1:5;
Zeph 2:9; 3:6; Zech 7:14. Here are a few uses of aphanizo in the Lxx...
Pr 10:25ESV (see also Pr 10:25YLT)
When the tempest (Whirlwind - Heb = suphah - from Hebrew root = to come
to an end; to cease and is used in prophetic passages describing swift
judgment and destruction) passes, the wicked is no more (Heb =
ayin = nothing, nought; Lxx = aphanizo), but the righteous is
established forever (Literally = a foundation forever) (HALLELUJAH!)
Net Bible Comment: The
metaphor compares the righteous to an everlasting foundation to stress
that they are secure when the catastrophes of life come along. He is
fixed in a covenantal relationship and needs not to fear passing
misfortunes. The wicked has no such security (Ed: Their security
As Corrie Ten Boom well said "Hold loosely the things of earth"
Proverbs 12:7 The wicked are
overthrown and are no more (Lxx = aphanizo), But the house of the
righteous will stand.
Net Bible Comment: This
proverb is about the stability of the righteous in times of trouble. The
term "overthrown" might allude to Ge 19:21)
Proverbs 14:11 The household
(metonymy of subject, referring to their contents: families and family
life) of the wicked will be destroyed (Lxx = aphanizo = the idea
in context is utterly destroyed - Many of the Lxx uses of aphanizo speak
of destruction! - Dt 7:2, ), but the tent of the upright will flourish.
Net Bible Comment: Personal
integrity ensures domestic stability and prosperity, while lack of such
integrity (= wickedness) will lead to the opposite. The term "tent"
is a metonymy here referring to the contents of the tent: families.
from klépto = steal) is literally a stealer: The
kléptes steals by fraud and in secret whereas the related word for
robber (lestes) steals by violence and openly. Kleptes is used
metaphorically to describe false teachers or deceivers who "steal men
away" from the truth as in John 10:8, 10; Hosea 7:1.
William Barclay writes of kleptes that - The ancient world was cursed with
them. Houses were easy to break into. The robbers particularly haunted
two places—the public baths and the public gymnasia where they stole the
clothes of those who were washing or exercising themselves. It was
common to kidnap slaves who had special gifts. The state of the law
shows how serious this problem was. There were three kinds of theft
punishable by death: (i) Theft to the value of more than 50 drachmae,
that is, about £2. (ii) Theft from the baths, the gymnasia and the ports
and harbours to the value of 10 drachmae, that is about 40 pence. (iii)
Theft of anything by night. The Christian lived in the middle of a
(diorusso from diá = through, + orússo = to dig)
means literally to "dig through". To break through a wall or
barrier, normally by the process of digging through. Digging through a
wall in Jesus' day was an activity that was made relatively
easy to do through ancient dwellings often composed of mud walls or
Diorusso - 4x in the NT - Matt
6:19, 20; 24:43; Luke 12:39
Matthew 24:43 "But be sure of this,
that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the
thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have
allowed his house to be broken into.
Luke 12:39 "And be sure of this, that
if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he
would not have allowed his house to be broken into.
Diorusso - 4x in the Septuagint -
Job 24:16; Ezek 12:5, 7, 12
Job 24:16 "In the dark they dig
into (Lxx = diorusso) houses, They shut themselves up by day;
They do not know the light. (NET renders it "In the dark the robber
breaks into houses")
Ezekiel 12:5 (God tells Ezekiel to) "Dig
a hole (Lxx = diorusso) through the wall in their sight and go
out through it.
(klepto cf. English, kleptomaniac)
kleptes [word study]) means
to commit a theft. Take something without the owner's permission.
Stealing is the act by which the
victim is deprived of property or possessions secretly and without
consent, and implies deception and dishonesty, in contrast to robbery
which denotes taking away of something from someone by force.
called a burglar a “mud-digger”. (Compare Job 24:16, “In the dark they
dig through houses.”) which is why many people buried their
nonperishable valuables in the ground away from the house.
In view of these mud-diggers, well-to-do people usually tried other
methods to safeguard their wealth including investing money with
moneychangers, depositing it in a temple for safekeeping (interestingly
even most robbers balked at “robbing gods”) or burying it in the ground
or in caves. And yet in these "secret" place moth could still destroy
expensive apparel or rust could destroy the value of coins over time.
You may say
"I've never been robbed. Besides I have the best burglar alarm system
money can buy." That may be true, but have you thought about the erosive effects of
inflation, oppressive taxation, bank failures, stock market
crashes, expenses of a prolonged illnesses, all of which can have the
same effect devastating effect as a robbery?
asked an immensely rich man whether his wealth had brought him joy, he
replied, “No, nothing tastes now.”
very rich man) declared...
Have I put my trust in money or felt
secure because of my gold? (Job 31:24NLT)
In fact where
was Job's trust?
I have not departed from the command
of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my
necessary food. (Job 23:12-note)
(Remember: People and the Word will endure forever!)
We are merely moving shadows, and all
our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth for someone else to
spend. (Ps 39:5NLT-note)
Do not trust in
oppression, And do not vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, do
not set your heart upon them. (Ps 62:10NLT-note,
see also Ps 39:6-note;
Pr 11:4; 16:16; 23:5; Eccl 2:26; 5:10, 11, 12, 13, 14; Zeph 1:18; Lk
12:21; 18:24; 1Ti 6:8, 9, 10,17; Heb 13:5-note;
Jas 5:1, 2, 3; 1Jn 2:15-note,1Jn
The Narrow Way
What thousands never knew the road!
What thousands hate it when ‘tis known!
None but the chosen tribes of God
Will seek or choose it for their own.
A thousand ways in ruin end,
One only leads to joys on high;
By that my willing steps ascend,
Pleased with a journey to the sky.
No more I ask or hope to find
Delight or happiness below;
Sorrow may well possess the mind
That feeds where thorns and thistles grow.
The joy that fades is not for me,
I seek immortal joys above;
There glory without end shall be
The bright reward of faith and love.
Cleave to the world, ye sordid worms,
Contented lick your native dust!
But God shall fight with all his storms,
Against the idol of your trust.
Olney Hymns, William Cowper,
Cowper’s Poems, Sheldon & Company, New York
writes these sayings that we might live wisely...
Riches do not profit in the day of
wrath, But righteousness delivers from death. (Proverbs 11:4)
How much better it is to get wisdom
than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver. (Proverbs
God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy
to those who please him. But if a sinner becomes wealthy, God takes the
wealth away and gives it to those who please him. Even this, however, is
meaningless, like chasing the wind. (Ecclesiastes 2:26)
He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves
abundance with its income. This too is vanity. (Material things demand
time and energy that could be better spent on eternal realities) When
good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the
advantage to their owners except to look on? The sleep of the working
man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much. But the full stomach of
the rich man does not allow him to sleep. There is a grievous evil which
I have seen under the sun: riches being hoarded by their owner to his
hurt. When those riches were lost through a bad investment and he had
fathered a son, then there was nothing to support him. As he had come
naked from his mother's womb, so will he return as he came. He will take
nothing from the fruit of his labor that he can carry in his hand. And
this also is a grievous evil-- exactly as a man is born, thus will he
die. So, what is the advantage to him who toils for the wind? (Ecclesiastes
asked one of the richest men in the world what it would take to make him
happy he replied in all sincerity "One dollar more!"
No amount of
money will genuine contentment, the kind that God alone gives.
This deadly plague reigns everywhere
throughout the world. Men are grown mad with an insatiable desire of
gain. Christ charges them with folly, in collecting wealth with great
care, and then giving up their happiness to moths and to rust, or
exposing it as a prey to thieves. What is more unreasonable than to
place their property, where it may perish of itself, or be carried off
by men? Covetous men, indeed, take no thought of this. They lock up
their riches in well-secured chests, but cannot prevent them from being
exposed to thieves or to moths. They are blind and destitute of sound
judgment, who give themselves so much toil and uneasiness in amassing
wealth, which is liable to putrefaction, or robbery, or a thousand other
accidents: particularly, when God allows us a place in heaven for laying
up a treasure, and kindly invites us to enjoy riches which never perish.
Rockefeller once said,
“I have made many millions, but they
have brought me no happiness.” and
“The poorest man I know is the man
who has nothing but money.”
“The care of millions is too great a
load … there is no pleasure in it.”
Jacob Astor described himself as
“the most miserable man on earth.”
Henry Ford at a
time when he was immensely wealthy once remarked,
“I was happier doing mechanic’s
work.” And John D. Rockefeller commented,
A Roman proverb
says that money is like sea water, the more you drink the thirstier you
In light of
these somewhat depressing quotations it is
not surprising that Jesus spoke of "treasure" or money quite frequently.
In fact, Randy Alcorn has estimated that
Fifteen percent of everything Christ said relates to this topic – more
than his teachings on heaven and hell combined (The Treasure Principle,
It was Jesus
Who asked the piercing question...
For what does it profit a man to gain
the whole world, and forfeit his soul? (Mark 8:36)
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
occasion Jesus instructed His disciples to...
Beware, and be on your guard against
every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his
life consist of his possessions." And He told them a parable, saying,
"The land of a certain rich man was very productive. "And he began
reasoning to himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no place to
store my crops?' "And he said, 'This is what I will do: I will tear down
my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and
my goods. 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up
for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry."' "But
God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your soul is required of
you; and now who will own what you have prepared?' So is the man who
lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. (Luke
Simeon wrote that...
Even if we could realize all our
expectations with respect to this world, our happiness must be short,
because life itself is coming speedily to a close: but there is not a
human being who does not feel the insufficiency of earthly things to
make him happy: What then can they contribute to our happiness in that
day, when nothing of them shall remain, except the fearful
responsibility for having idolized and abused them, and the tremendous
judgments of God for having suffered them to alienate our minds from
But the very exercise of grace is
happiness, independent of the reward which it will receive in glory; and
the more we abound in good works now, the happier shall we be to all
eternity; for “every one shall receive according to his own labour."
(Horae Homileticae Volume 11)
If someone does something with the
intent of gaining earthly profit, that one’s heart is upon the earth.
How can a heart be clean while it is wallowing in the mud? On the other
hand, if it be fastened upon heaven it will be clean, for whatever is
heavenly is unpolluted. A thing becomes defiled if it is mixed with a
baser substance, even though that other substance be not vile in its own
nature. Gold, for example, is debased by pure silver if mixed with it.
So also is our mind defiled by a desire for the things of earth,
although the earth itself is pure in its own class and in its own order
rightly reminds us that...
Nothing we own is completely safe
from destruction or theft. And even if we keep our possessions perfectly
secure during our entire lives, we are certainly separated from them at
death. Many millionaires will be heavenly paupers, and many paupers will
be heavenly millionaires. But when our time, energy, and possessions are
used to serve others and to further the Lord’s work, they build up
heavenly resources that are completely free from destruction or theft...
Heavenly security is the only absolute security.
Matthew 1-7 Macarthur New Testament Commentary
Chicago: Moody Press)
presents a sad illustration of an ironic tragedy of hoarding material
Mrs. Bertha Adams was seventy-one
years old when she died alone in West Palm Beach, Florida on Easter
Sunday 1976. The coroner's report read, "Cause of Death...
malnutrition." After wasting away to fifty pounds she could no longer
stay alive. When the state authorities made their preliminary
investigation of her home, they found a veritable "pigpen...the biggest
mess you can imagine." One seasoned inspector declared he had never seen
a dwelling in greater disarray. Bertha had begged food at her neighbors'
doors and had gotten what clothes she had from the Salvation Army. From
all appearances she was a penniless recluse - a pitiful and forgotten
widow. But such was not the case! Amid the jumble of her filthy,
disheveled belongings were found two keys to safe-deposit boxes at two
different local banks. The discovery was unbelievable. The first box
contained over 700 AT&T stock certificates, plus hundreds of other
valuable notes, bonds, and solid financial securities, not to mention
cash amounting to $200,000. The second box had no certificates, just
cash - $600,000 to be exact. Bertha Adams was a millionaire and then
some! Yet she died of starvation. Her case was even more tragic if she
was destitute spiritually. Her life is an extreme parable of the lethal
dangers of materialism, which promises so much but cannot give us what
we need most. Our consumer society is constantly telling us that life at
its best consists of having more and more possessions and pleasures. As
Christians, we know this is patently false. But the tug is so strong
that many of us try a balancing act between what the Bible teaches and
what the admen say, between the spiritual riches God offers us in Christ
and worldly treasures that cannot feed our soul. Sadly, some of us lose
our balance, and the results are devastating.
(Hughes, R. K.
Sermon on the Mount: The Message of
the Kingdom. Crossway Books)
wrote that Jesus gives us...
A good caution against making the
things that are seen, that are temporal, our best things, and placing
our happiness in them. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth.
Christ’s disciples had left all to follow him, let them still keep in
the same good mind. A treasure is an abundance of something that is in
itself, at least in our opinion, precious and valuable, and likely to
stand us in stead hereafter. Now we must not lay up our treasures on
earth, that is,
(1.) We must not count these things
the best things, nor the most valuable in themselves, nor the most
serviceable to us: we must not call them glory, as Laban’s sons did, but
see and own that they have no glory in comparison with the glory that
(2.) We must not covet an abundance
of these things, nor be still grasping at more and more of them, and
adding to them, as men do to that which is their treasure, as never
knowing when we have enough.
(3.) We must not confide in them for
futurity, to be our security and supply in time to come; we must not say
to the gold, Thou art my hope.
(4.) We must not content ourselves
with them, as all we need or desire: we must be content with a little
for our passage, but not with all for our portion. These things must not
be made our consolation (Lk 6:24), our good things, Lk 16:25.
Let us consider we are laying up, not
for our posterity in this world, but for ourselves in the other world.
We are put to our choice, and made in a manner our own carvers; that is
ours which we lay up for ourselves. It concerns thee to choose wisely,
for thou art choosing for thyself, and shalt have as thou choosest. If
we know and consider ourselves what we are, what we are made for, how
large our capacities are, and how long our continuance, and that our
souls are ourselves, we shall see it is foolish thing to lay up our
treasures on earth. (Matthew 6)
Pritchard addresses the practical application of Jesus' negative
command in his consideration of three areas...
First, we are to reject
extravagant living. That is, we are to reject the ostentatious lifestyle
of the rich and famous who parade their wealth in public. (I recognize
that extravagance for me might be commonality for you. I also realize
that a lower-middle-class lifestyle in Chicago might seem upper-class in
some sections of Haiti. Although the standards for extravagance vary
from culture, the principle still stands. We are to reject extravagant
living, however it might be measured in a given culture.)
Second, we are not to ignore
the needy. Instead, we are to seek ways to share our wealth with the
less-fortunate. Remember, some of the harshest denunciations in the
Bible are reserved for those who close their eyes to those in need.
Third, we are not to live as
if this world is the only world there is. Rather, we are to live always
in light of the fact that there is another world coming, a world in
which we will live forever, a world where our status will be largely
determined by the way we treat others in this world....
When you set your life to store up
the wealth of this world, you are setting your life after that which
cannot last. You may indeed amass a fortune, but you won’t be able to
keep it, or your descendants will waste, or the government will find a
way to take it away. What you have may last for a few years, or for a
generation or two, but eventually the money you worked so hard for will
slip from your hands. (Matthew 6:19-21 The
First National Bank of Heaven)
RISE UP, O MEN OF GOD
Rise up, O men of God!
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and mind and soul and strength
To serve the King of kings.
Rise up, O men of God!
The kingdom tarries long.
Bring in the day of brotherhood
And end the night of wrong.
Rise up, O men of God!
The church for you doth wait,
Her strength unequal to her task;
Rise up and make her great!
Lift high the cross of Christ!
Tread where His feet have trod.
As brothers of the Son of Man,
Rise up, O men of God!
Loosening Our Grip - Since all
these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be?
An American tourist traveled to
Poland to visit with a respected religious teacher who was known for his
wisdom. The visitor noticed that the man's room had nothing but a table,
a chair, and some books. Puzzled by such austerity, he asked, "Where is
your furniture?" The teacher answered, "My furniture? Where is your
furniture, my friend?" The American protested, "Furniture? But I am only
a tourist passing through." "So am I," said the man.
And so are all of us.
Because it's true that we're just passing through this world, we need to
learn to loosen our grip on our earthly possessions. This declaration
from Jesus should help us: "One's life does not consist in the abundance
of the things he possesses" (Luke 12:15). Rather than acquiring and
holding tightly to earthly things, we should be obeying this directive
given by our Savior: "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" (Matthew 6:19, 20).
If you're overly concerned about your car, house, clothes, or bank
account, ask God to help you learn what it means to lay up treasures in
the world to come. — Vernon C Grounds (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose. —Havergal
Hold tightly what is eternal;
Hold lightly what is temporal.
As Jean-Jacques Rousseau
When a man dies he clutches in his
hands only that which he has given away in his lifetime.
That’s All Mine! - George W.
Truett, a well-known pastor, was invited to dinner in the home of a very
wealthy man in Texas. After the meal, the host led him to a place where
they could get a good view of the surrounding area.
Pointing to the oil wells punctuating the landscape, he boasted,
“Twenty-five years ago I had nothing. Now, as far as you can see, it’s
all mine.” Looking in the opposite direction at his sprawling fields of
grain, he said, “That’s all mine.” Turning east toward huge herds of
cattle, he bragged, “They’re all mine.” Then pointing to the west and a
beautiful forest, he exclaimed, “That too is all mine.”
He paused, expecting Dr. Truett to compliment him on his great success.
Truett, however, placing one hand on the man’s shoulder and pointing
heavenward with the other, simply said, “How much do you have in that
The man hung his head and confessed, “I never thought of that.” (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
PARTING OR INVESTING? (Read 1 Timothy
6:3-12) Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, but...in heaven.
Matthew 6:19, 20
As little Jimmy's uncle was about to leave after a visit, he placed a
crisp new dollar bill in his nephew's hand, saying, "Be careful how you
spend this, Jimmy. You know the old proverb, `A fool and his money are
soon parted.' " To this the lad replied, "I'll remember what you said,
Uncle Bill. But thanks anyway for parting with it!"
This youngster may have completely
misinterpreted his uncle's generosity, but we would do well to let his
experience remind us that there's a world of difference between a fool
who thoughtlessly parts with his money for the fleeting, selfish
pleasures of this life, and the wise man who in-vests it in Heaven.
Jesus told the rich young ruler,
Sell all that thou hast, and
distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven. (Lk
18:22, 12:33, 16:9, 1Ti 6:18,19)
Such giving is not the "parting" of a
fool, but the "investing" of a wise man.
The Sunday school lesson had to do with keeping our minds and bodies
clean. As the teacher held up a bar of soap to emphasize the point, one
little tyke was heard to comment, "Oh, oh, here comes the commercial!"
Isn't that the way many feel about the offering?
After the morning service, dad was knocking the preacher, mother was
criticizing the choir, and sister was running down the organist. But
they all quieted down in a hurry when little brother piped up, "I
thought it was a pretty good show for a dime!" This family had never
discovered that "it is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts
20:35, cp Phil 4:17-note)
What are you doing with your possessions? Are you foolishly "parting"
with them, or wisely "investing" them in everlasting securities?
You may lay up vast riches of silver
And may hoard precious jewels and treasures untold;
But at last when you come to the end of life's road,
Still your wealth will be just what you've given to the Lord!
To be rich in GOD is better than
to be rich in GOODS!
David Livingstone - The body of David Livingstone was buried in
England where he was born, but his heart was buried in the Africa he
loved. At the foot of a tall tree in a small African village the natives
dug a hole and placed in it the heart of this man who they loved and
If your heart were to be buried in the place you loved most during life,
where would it be? In your pocketbook? In an appropriate space down at
the office? Where is your heart' (Source unknown)
ANYTHING LEFT?: Upon the first
day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath
prospered him ... .1 Corinthians 16:2
As a visitor paid his bill at a very exclusive hotel, he saw a posted
reminder near the door which read, "Have you left any-thing?" Going to
the manager he remarked, "That sign is wrong, sir. It should read: 'Have
you anything left?'"
What a vivid portrayal this is of life itself, when a person expends his
talents, energies, and financial resources wholly for the fleeting
pleasures and passing things of this present world. Coming to the end of
life's journey, he suddenly has that "empty-handed" feeling. Having
"spent" everything on himself, and recognizing the reality of eternity,
he must face the sobering question, "Have you anything left?" Sad to
say, the answer is "No," since the only way to have lasting "treasures"
is to send them on ahead through wise, spiritual investments in the
things of the Lord. That's why Jesus said,
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures
upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break
through and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven . . ."
What a difference it would make if
every true Christian really believed this. This matter of "investing" in
Heaven would then occupy a much more important place in our prayers.
Daily we would ask the Lord what we should do, how much we should give,
and where we might wisely expend that which has been committed to our
trust. Only in so doing can we be assured of an "abundant entrance." The
apostle Paul tells us,
"He who soweth sparingly shall reap
also sparingly; and he who soweth bountifully shall reap also
bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let
him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful
giver" (2Cor 9:6, 7).
How are you investing? When you leave
for the eternal Home will there be "anything left"?
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
O the plaudits of men may be sweet to
But the Master's "well done" will be more,
If you lay up your treasure in Heaven above
Where the Savior has gone on before!
Treasures in Heaven are laid up
as treasures on earth are laid down.
THIEVES AND INFLATION:
Lay not up . . . treasures upon earth, . . . where thieves break through
and steal. Matthew 6:19
Thieves and inflation have much in common! In fact, when it comes to
their effect upon a person's "nest egg," they are almost synonymous.
Both rob and deprive the unsuspecting victim of his resources.
A few days ago, while thumbing through an old 1922 almanac, I came
across this suggestion for becoming financially independent: "If a
person, at 20 years of age, would religiously put aside one dollar per
week and invest it every 6 months at 6 percent compound interest, by the
time he reached 60 he would have established a fund that would- make him
independent of help from others for the balance of his life. His bank
book would show the tidy sum of approximately $10,000." How times have
changed! Today, although a lot of money, this amount can no longer be
considered sufficient to make a person financially in-dependent.
Jesus said, "Lay not up . . . treasures upon earth." If spoken in 1970 I
can well imagine our Lord adding the words "where thieves [and
inflation] break through and steal." We certainly have an obligation to
prepare in a sensible way for the future, and to do what we can to avoid
becoming a burden to others in our declining years. Yet, in every
person's savings program, pro-vision should be made for deposits in the
Bank of Heaven. It offers security. It provides a foolproof hedge
against inflation. It guarantees the best returns.
If the insecurity of earthly investments troubles you, "lay up . . .
treasures in heaven," where neither thieves nor inflation "break through
and steal." (H G Bosch)
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
It has been said with wisdom true,
"The heart will e'er follow the hoard."
Remember this, and then make sure
Your treasure is found in the Lord!
The real measure of a man's wealth is what he shall own in eternity!
From a little spark may burst a mighty flame! —Dante
Offering - At our 1987 church picnic someone went through a
number of cars and stole various items. Donna K.’s purse and glasses
were taken. Later, someone found her purse intact, except for some
missing loose change. She’d put all her money in the offering plate that
morning! (Later, her glasses were also found.) (Source unknown)
Determined Thieves - There are
few things that determined thieves can’t steal. In the fall of 1988
three paintings by Vincent van Gogh, including his early masterpiece,
“The Potato Eaters,” were stolen from a museum in Europe. Experts had
shielded the museum with a silent alarm system and two guards. Yet
thieves got to the paintings, estimated to be worth about $50 million.