By Joe Chesser
Jesus was never flippant when he spoke about what we treasure. Never! What we choose to treasure was (and is) always a matter of utmost importance. For example, Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered it up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matthew 13.44). Is Jesus saying that if we consider the kingdom of heaven our treasure, then we will with joy give up everything we have to in order to possess it? If so, I must ask myself if God’s kingdom is worth that much to me? Or do I treasure some other things that I am unwilling to give up? Things such as my time, my money, or other things I enjoy doing?
How you answer these questions is a serious matter. It’s a matter of eternal significance. It’s a matter that determines whether you follow Jesus ... or not! In Matthew 19 there is a story of a young man who asked Jesus about eternal life. He was a good man, a religious man. He knew and had kept the commandments since his youth. But Jesus knew this young man’s heart. Jesus told him to sell all that he had and give it to the poor, and then follow him. If he would do that he would have treasure in heaven. It was decision time. Did he treasure his extreme worldly wealth or did he treasure the kingdom of heaven? Although it made him sorrowful, he still chose to keep his worldly wealth and leave Jesus behind. He had kept all the laws, but in his heart he treasured his money more than the treasure Jesus promised.
It's not just what we do that matters. It’s what’s in our hearts, for our hearts determine what we treasure. As Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6.21). He also said, “The good person out of his good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Luke 6.45).
These things are not new to you. You’ve read them and heard them over and over. But being familiar with them doesn’t make them less important. What you treasure is a serious matter. It is of utmost importance. We should never tire of examining and re-examining our hearts (2 Corinthians 13.5), because today we are being challenged more than ever to abandon what we once treasured to satisfy things of less importance. And we can’t blame COVID. It’s a matter of the heart. I am not attempting to judge anyone’s heart, but from what I’ve read in brotherhood publications and personally seen, the kingdom of heaven does seem to be less treasured among us than just a few years ago. Attendance is down, especially for the evening assemblies; congregations are closing their doors at an alarming rate; feelings seem to be replacing truth; evangelism is directed more and more towards what attracts people (services and programs) rather than lifting up the crucified Christ and teaching the gospel.
However, only you and the Lord knows what’s in your heart. Only you and the Lord knows if you are willing to sell everything you have (Luke 14.33) in order to have treasure in heaven. Only you and the Lord knows to what extent you treasure His kingdom. My hope is that we all will seriously examine our own hearts to see if we truly treasure the kingdom of heaven enough to give it our all. My hope is that collectively the Lord’s people will “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6.33) and let everything else fall into place.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered it up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matthew 13.44).