The Bible has a lot to say about storing up treasures in heaven rather than focusing on accumulating worldly possessions and wealth. Jesus specifically instructed His followers not to store up treasures on earth, where they can be destroyed or stolen, but to store up eternal treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). This article will examine the key Bible passages about heavenly treasures and provide an in-depth look at the biblical principles behind this important concept.
What did Jesus teach about storing up treasures in heaven?
In His famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told His disciples “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 moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
Jesus contrasts two options here – earthly treasures versus heavenly treasures. Earthly treasures, like money, possessions, and wealth, are temporary and can be destroyed or lost. But heavenly treasures are eternal and secure. Jesus instructs us to store up “treasures in heaven” rather than accumulating worldly wealth and possessions. Our heart’s desires are closely tied to where we choose to put our treasure.
Jesus warns that focusing on earthly treasures leads to a troubled heart, while storing up heavenly treasures leads to an eternal perspective and focus on God’s kingdom. Just a few verses later, He declares “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24). Our heart’s devotion will be determined by where we store up our treasure.
How do we store up treasures in heaven?
Since heavenly treasures are not physical objects like money or possessions, how do we go about storing them up? Scripture points to several key ways:
- Giving generously – When we use our financial resources to generously serve God and bless others, Jesus says we are “storing up treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20, Luke 12:33). Giving to the poor and supporting God’s work builds up eternal rewards.
- Living obediently – Obeying God’s Word and commands leads to heavenly treasures. Jesus told His disciples to “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven” by taking up their cross and following Him in sacrificial obedience (Matthew 19:21).
- Investing in others – When we invest in serving others, meeting needs, and building God’s kingdom, we store up treasures in heaven. Jesus said even giving a cup of cold water to a child because they are His disciple stores up heavenly reward (Matthew 10:42).
- Developing Christlike character – As we grow in godly virtues like faith, patience, and holiness, these lasting spiritual treasures are stored up for eternity. Paul spoke of this “treasure in jars of clay” (2 Corinthians 4:7).
While earthly treasures are temporary, the rewards of a life lived by God’s principles and for His kingdom are eternal. These heavenly treasures do not run out or fade away – they last for eternity.
Bible verses about treasures in heaven
Many other Bible verses besides Jesus’ words in Matthew 6 instruct us to store up heavenly rather than earthly treasures:
- “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
- “Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.” (James 5:3-4)
- “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)
- “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.” (Luke 12:33)
- “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:3-4)
These verses clearly instruct us to avoid greedily hoarding up earthly treasures. Instead, we are to generously share with those in need, living obediently to God, in order to store up imperishable heavenly rewards.
Key principles from these verses
We can summarize the key principles on heavenly treasures from these passages:
- Earthly treasures are uncertain and do not last
- Trusting in earthly wealth is foolishness
- We cannot serve both God and money – devotion to wealth will hinder devotion to God
- Generous giving stores up treasures in heaven
- Obedience to Christ and the Word stores up treasures in heaven
- Caring for others’ needs stores up treasures in heaven
- Developing Christlike character stores up treasures in heaven
- Heavenly treasures have eternal value unlike temporary earthly treasures
Scripture consistently elevates the eternal over the temporal. Storing up heavenly treasures should be a priority for believers who understand the temporary nature of earthly possessions and who want to live in light of eternity.
Why focus on storing up heavenly treasures?
With these clear biblical principles in mind, why should we make it a priority to store up heavenly rather than earthly treasures?
- It changes our focus – Pursuing heavenly treasures focuses our heart, time, and energy on eternal rewards rather than temporary things. This gives us an eternal perspective.
- It loosens the grip of materialism – Laying up treasures in heaven helps free us from dependence on worldly wealth and possessions. We can be generous and use resources to serve others and build God’s kingdom.
- It brings us true security – Unlike earthly treasures, heavenly treasures cannot be destroyed by moth, rust, thieves or stock market crashes. This brings lasting security amid earthly uncertainty.
- It draws us closer to God – Where our treasure is our heart is also. Pursuing heavenly treasures keeps our heart’s devotion focused on the eternal rather than the temporary things of this world.
- It motivates obedience and Christlike virtue – We are prompted to walk in holiness, faith and generosity, knowing these godly actions store up eternal rewards.
Storing up treasure in heaven impacts our heart, focus, security, devotion and motivations. It gives us an eternal perspective that changes how we live each day on earth.
What kinds of rewards are stored up in heaven?
Scripture does not give us an exact blueprint of the kinds of treasures and rewards stored up for us in heaven based on how we live on earth. But we do get hints about some of the rewards:
- The reward of hearing “Well done” from our Master – In several parables, Jesus speaks of our heavenly Master welcoming us with the words “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21,23). This reward far surpasses any earthly treasure.
- Everlasting life and relationship with God – “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” (Luke 16:9) The greatest treasure is deepened relationship with God throughout eternity in our heavenly home.
- Seeing people we helped come to Christ – “My dear children, I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.” (Galatians 4:19) Paul’s “labor will not be in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58) when he sees believers face-to-face in glory who came to faith through his ministry.
- Heavenly positions of responsibility and honor – “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.” (Matthew 25:23)
- Praise and approval – “The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Corinthians 3:8-9)
- Crowns and rewards – “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)
God has wonderful eternal rewards prepared for us when we stay focused on treasuring the eternal over the temporary. While the details remain largely unknown, what is clear is that these imperishable treasures far outweigh anything this world has to offer.
Examples of people in the Bible who stored up treasures in heaven
Many heroes of the faith provide models of those who fixed their hope and treasure on the reward of eternity in heaven rather than temporal earthly possessions:
Abraham left behind his earthly home and possessions in Ur to live as a nomad in obedience to God’s call. The writer of Hebrews says: “He went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents…For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:8-10)
Moses gave up the treasures of Egypt when he identified himself with his fellow Hebrews, God’s people. The Hebrews writer says he valued “disgrace for the sake of Christ” greater than earthly treasures, “because he was looking ahead to his reward.” (Hebrews 11:26)
The early Christians joyfully accepted the plundering of their property and earthly possessions, recognizing they had “better and lasting possessions” in heaven (Hebrews 10:32-35). Their treasure was Christ and the reward of eternity with Him.
A woman named Persis is commended by Paul in Romans 16:12 for having “worked very hard in the Lord.” Even though we know nothing else about her, Persis provides a model of someone who must have invested time, energy and resources into serving Christ – storing up treasures in heaven by her labor for His kingdom rather than earthly wealth and comfort.
How can we keep an eternal perspective?
Storing up treasure in heaven requires having an eternal perspective rather than getting caught up in the temporal things of this world. Here are some tips for keeping an eternal perspective:
- Set your mind on things above, not earthly things (Colossians 3:2) – Make time to meditate on Scripture, pray, worship, and focus on your eternal future reality with Christ.
- Evaluate how you are stewarding God’s resources – Is your time, energy and money going toward temporal things or eternal kingdom work?
- Ask God to give you an eternal perspective when making decisions – Pray for wisdom in the stewardship of your life, time, skills and possessions.
- Imagine yourself at life’s end – Envision looking back from your deathbed. What will you wish you had pursued more – temporal affluence and comfort or eternal rewards?
- Remember the saints who have gone before – Recall biblical heroes and exemplary Christians who lived for eternal treasure. Let their example inspire you.
- Set godly priorities – Put God’s kingdom first, trust Him for provisions, free yourself from worldly attachments, and rest in the security of your eternal home in heaven.
Regular spiritual practices like prayer, Bible study, fellowship, worship, giving, and service help maintain a focus on the eternal rather than the temporal concerns of this world.
What if I struggle to store up heavenly treasures?
It can be challenging to continually store up eternal treasures rather than getting caught up in pursuing earthly wealth and possessions. Try these tips if you struggle:
- Confess areas of spiritual weakness or worldliness – Admit to yourself, to God, and another believer areas you are drifting toward greed or materialism.
- Study Scripture on heavenly treasures – Meditate on verses about setting your heart and mind on things above. Ask God to renew your eternal perspective.
- Take a technology fast – Unplug from screens, social media, and television to clear your mind and refocus on God’s eternal kingdom priorities.
- Recalibrate how you use time and money – Evaluate your schedule, budget, and giving and make needed adjustments to align with storing up eternal treasure.
- Practice downsizing – Simplify your life and possessions to live more generously and loosen the hold of materialism.
- Meet regularly with other eternal-minded believers – Let other like-minded followers of Christ encourage and challenge you in living for what lasts.
The Holy Spirit can give strength and conviction to overcome the lure of the temporal and seek what has lasting eternal treasure. Christians should encourage one another and spur each other on in living for eternity.
Jesus commands His followers not to store up temporary treasures on earth, but to store up eternal treasures in heaven. Earthly wealth can be destroyed or lost, but heavenly treasure is secure and imperishable. We store up heavenly treasure through generous giving, investing in others, obeying Christ, and developing godly character.
Pursuing heavenly rather than earthly treasure changes our focus, loosens materialism’s grip, brings security, strengthens devotion to God, and motivates obedience. The rewards center around deepened relationship with Christ, joy in seeing others come to faith, eternal positions of responsibility, praise from God, and crowns and riches that far surpass anything this world can offer.
Keeping an eternal perspective is key to setting our hearts and minds on investing in the imperishable treasures of God’s kingdom. The example of faithful saints who lived for eternal rewards inspires us to do likewise. By God’s grace, may we all store up treasure in heaven rather than clinging to the temporary treasures of this world.