Matt. 6:1-6; 16-21
In my short book, How to Store Up Treasures in Heaven, I wrote about how the terms “heaven” and “earth” can be understood at metaphors. Here’s the explanation from the book:
Jesus spoke Aramaic, which is a sister language to Hebrew. Both are poetic languages that are full of images in which words carry meanings at many levels of body, mind, and spirit. If you don’t understand this, then it’s easy to miss the deeper meanings of some of the things written in the Scriptures. Here’s an example from the psalms you might recognize:
For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb… My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. (Ps. 139:13, 15)
“Intricately woven in the depths of the earth” is a metaphor of the mother’s womb. The earth represents the atoms and molecules from which we were formed. It represents the matter of the physical world. So in some cases, the word “earth” can represent anything made up of atoms and molecules—things you can touch and see that have form and substance, including a person’s body.
In the same way, the word “heaven” can represent things that you can’t see or touch. They are the invisible or intangible things in the world. For example, you can’t see or touch any person’s spirit, or feelings, or thoughts, or sentiments, or memories. These things aren’t made up of atoms and molecules. Yet they are real. They are forms of energy on a “higher” plane than the material things in life.
All I want you to recognize here is that “earth” and “heaven” have meanings beyond what some limit them to in the Bible. The earth represents more than just our planet and heaven represents more than simply a place to go when you die.
(Copyright © 2015)
The treasures in heaven that cannot be destroyed or taken away from you have nothing to do with fortune, fame, or power. The treasures of heaven are things like peace of mind as moths, tornados, hurricanes, or fire are destroying your stuff. Peace because you trust God is going to see you through this.
Other heavenly treasures are joy, love, confidence, and courage. You can’t have these heavenly treasures if your heart is holding onto the earthly things as if you can’t live without them.
I’ve had the experience of placing my trust and money in people promising riches through Wall Street. It wasn’t pretty. They stole my earthly treasures. It took me a long time to get over it. I had placed my trust in the wrong things. I survived but it was a costly lesson.
The good news is that I wrestled with God in it. And I gained something that money can’t give you – peace of mind. I still have retirement funds in the stock market. They could disappear much quicker than it took to earn and put them into storage. Just like some of it did last month. But I choose to put my faith in these words: “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matt. 6:31-34).
What do we want when we pray for earthly treasure like money, or promotions, or new jobs, or a winning lottery ticket? I think we want heavenly treasure. We want peace, and joy, and love, and contentment, and fulfillment in life. But too many times we think storing up earthly treasure is how we’ll get the heavenly treasures.
Let your treasure be found in things that moths or rust can’t eat up – like wisdom, trust in the goodness and abundance of God, peace, hope, the love of friends and family, the joy of knowing someone appreciates you. When you pray for these intangible things in the heavens of higher consciousness, you are praying for the kingdom of God. For as the apostle Paul said in Romans 14:17, “The kingdom of God is justice, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” These are the treasures of heaven.