God's 401K Plan
Matthew 6: 19-21 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The world does a good job of distracting us. It does a good job of taking our focus off of God and onto the things of this world. We can tend to focus more on the temporal aspects of this life on earth instead of on the eternal life we have inherited as heirs with Jesus Christ. That eternal life is often mistaken as something that is still to come but if you are a blood-bought believer in Jesus then you are already living in the eternal. The trick is to live for the eternal and not for the temporal.
That is what these three verses from the Gospel of Matthew speak to. These are the words of Jesus Himself as he taught His disciples during the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus understood the propensity we would have for focusing on this life instead of the eternal life He has given us. The first verse implores us to not store up "treasure" here on earth. The easiest example of this is the pursuit of material goods and wealth. The world teaches that he with the most toys wins. We are raised to be competitive and seek material possessions to achieve happiness. The "American Dream" is largely achieving material wealth and there are more commercials for the lottery than it seems anything else. Unfortunately, some preaching has taken advantage of this as well; teaching a prosperity gospel. Selling prayer cloths or sacred water, wolves in sheep's clothing continue to sell the notion that God is seeking to unleash a prosperity blessing upon all followers. The problem is not necessarily with the philosophy of prosperity but that they have linked prosperity to excessive material blessings. God always has a better way.
God seeks to prosper us spiritually. Within the same teaching, Christ further instructs on this principle:
So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6: 31-33
You can replace the word "pagans" with the world. It is the world that teaches us that we need to pursue these things. It is the world that teaches us to worry about prosperity. The gospel of the world says that it is a dog-eat-dog world and that it doesn't matter who you have to step over or on to get what you need. God's plan says "seek me". Seek His kingdom and His righteousness and let God worry about what you need. Why? The word says right here that He knows what you need!
But storing up treasure on earth goes beyond material issues. We can also seek fame, recognition, or power on earth as well and store that up. We can be easily wounded here on earth and seek retribution as well. We can hold grudges and revel in the misfortune of others. All of these are examples of storing up treasures here in earth. The Book of Acts tells us a story about a man named Simon the Sorcerer. We are introduced to him as someone who clearly bought into everything the world taught: