September 5th, 2012: Hoarding Corruptibles

September 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. ~Matthew 6.19~

 Christ continues his teaching with another negative command: “Do not…” The command here is to not “store up treasures,” where such things may be easily stolen or lose value.

The verb here translated as “store up treasure” comes from the Greek word, thesaurizo. (θησαυρίζω) This word specifically referred to setting aside and accumulating things of value. Metaphorically, it could also refer to someone living daily in such a way so as to bring about a particular event or result. In English, we recognize this kind of living when we say things like, “He had it coming to him” or “She worked hard for that.”

The reasoning behind Christ’s command appears simple enough; material possessions simply don’t last. Moths eat fancy clothes; given time, rust will consume other valuables. In the time of Christ, many people kept their valuables inside an inner room. This room would have been located in the center of a home’s floorplan, with no windows and a reinforced door of some kind. However, break-ins and thefts still occurred; thieves could use force to damage the walls of the room and gain entry.

Christ commands his disciples to not spend time stockpiling corruptible, temporary things. Such things will be destroyed, sooner or later; they just don’t have permanent value. Therefore, followers of Christ should not spend time working on acquiring such temporary, fleeting things.

This is not to say that Christians should neglect such things. Clothes, money, and other items should rightly be seen as necessities. In this teaching, Christ speaks to those who find their own personal value, purpose, and fulfillment in acquiring temporary items. There is nothing wrong with working to have enough money to meet your own needs, or going out and buying necessary clothing; the trouble begins when you compromise the realities of God’s Kingdom in your life in order to acquire more wealth and possessions.

Money and toys won’t last. The Kingdom of Heaven will. What are you investing in?

Heavenly Father, I confess that my tendency is to seek treasure for myself, rather than your kingdom; treasure that doesn’t last. Point out to me the areas that I need to surrender to you; the things that I hoard for myself. Help me release these desires to you, and forgive me for not thinking outside myself. Amen. 

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