The Gospel of Matthew: a commentary & meditation 
“Lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven”

Scripture: Matthew 6:19-23

19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 "The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; 23 but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
Meditation: Jesus used the images of treasure and eyesight to covey the hidden truth of God’s kingdom. What Jesus said about treasure made perfect sense to his audience: keep what lasts!  Aren’t we all trying to find the treasure which brings security and happiness?  Jesus contrasts two very different kinds of wealth — material and spiritual goods.  Jesus urges his disciples to get rich by investing in that which truly lasts, not just for a life-time, but for all eternity. How attainable is this heavenly treasure and can we enjoy it now, or must we wait for it in the after-life?  The treasure of God’s kingdom is both a present and future reality for those who seek it. What is this treasure which Jesus offers so freely? It is the joy of knowing the living God, being united with him, and receiving the inheritance of an imperishable kingdom — a kingdom of peace, joy, and righteousness.  Since one’s whole life is directed by that which he most values, to set one’s heart on heavenly treasure will be to enter into a deeper and richer life with God.  Which treasure do you seek, earthly or heavenly treasure?

Jesus also used the image of eyesight to convey an important spiritual principle. Bad eyesight is often used as a metaphor for stupidity and spiritual blindness. (For examples, see Matt. 15:14, 23:16 ff.; John 9:39-41; Ro. 2 2:19; II Peter 1:9; and Revelations 3:17.) The eye is the window of the heart, mind, and “inner being” of a person.  If the window is clouded, dirty, or marred in any manner, the light will be deflected and diminished.  Just so with the “inner being” of a person!  How we “see” affects the “inner life”, “heart”, and “soul” of an individual.  What can blind or distort our “vision” of what is true, good, lovely, pure and everlasting (Phil. 4:8)?  Certainly prejudice, jealousy, and self-conceit cause distortion or blindness.  Prejudice destroys good judgment and blinds us to the facts and to their significance for us.  Jealousy makes us distrustful and suspicious of others and distorts our ability to accurately examine the facts. We need to fearlessly examine ourselves to see if we are living according to right principles or if we might be misguided by prejudice or some other conceit.  Love is not jealous ...but rejoices with the truth (1 Cor. 13:4-6). Do you rejoice in what is right and good and do you live your life in the light
of God’s truth?

“Lord, your word is life for us.  Fill me with your light and truth, and give me understanding of your ways.  Free me from all that is false, illusory, ugly, and unloving. Let my heart know only one treasure--the joy and bliss of union with you--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”


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(c) 2002 Don Schwager