Our scripture this morning is Matthew 6:19-21.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

In this passage Jesus teaches that money and possessions can become an idol, keeping us from seeing our eternal blessing. People of that day believed material wealth was a sign of God’s favor. Jesus explains that these are only temporary, that “moth and rust consume” and “thieves break in and steal.” Gifts from God cannot be taken away, nor do they deteriorate.

18th century pastor and theologian John Wesley taught that we “should be industrious and earn without harming yourself or your neighbor physically or spiritually.” Jesus didn’t teach that wealth was bad but rather what we do to obtain it and how it affects our brothers and sisters can come between us and God. Heavenly treasure is born of love, not greed.

In Luke 18:18-23 we hear the rich young ruler asking Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. He tells Jesus he has kept the commandments and Jesus then says “sell all you own, give to the poor and come follow me.” The gospel records “he went away sadly, for he was very rich.” He was relying on himself and his wealth rather than God. We all need to heed this lesson, regardless of our financial status. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Loving Lord, help us to see the things we value here on earth are worthless in eternity. Only our love for You and each other is of permanent value. Forgive our selfishness and bless us to go in Your name everywhere. Amen.

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