“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” – Matthew 6:19-24
Please think about this with me. As a child, would you rather spend quality time with your mother and/or father, or simply have the food, clothes, toys, etc. that they work hard to provide for you? I’ve yet to meet the young man who truly wishes his father had spent more time at the office, put in more late nights at the shop, or traveled more for business, in order to provide him with a nicer car, the newest phone, designer clothes, and more trinkets he didn’t need. We want time with our Dad, we long to play with and tag along with our fathers, we desire good relationships with our parents.
Consider when you receive a great gift, one that just takes you by surprise and it’s something you really like. Doesn’t that gift stir your affections for the giver? Your love doesn’t increase, grow, and terminate solely and only on the actual gift, does it? If a family member or close friend surprises you with a gift, you appreciate them and their love for you, don’t you? You certainly wouldn’t take the gift, then remain completely unchanged and unaffected by their act of giving, would you? You would like the gift, but the giver is certainly of greater value, aren’t they?
Or what about this: Do we celebrate and think much of the basketball player Michael Jordan, or do we simply admire his shoes, his jersey, the basketball he used? Jordan just recently turned 50, and there were highlights all over ESPN of all the great plays he made in both college and the NBA. Would any those things that he wore have any real value apart from him, or without relation to his numerous achievements in the game of basketball? Maybe you like football better. What about Joe Montana? Do we think much of him, or merely care about the shoes he wore, the jersey he played in, and the footballs he once threw?
What about a hammer, blue-prints, a screw-driver, measuring tape, paint brush, a drawing table, wrench, etc? Are those tools greater than the construction worker, the engineer, or the architect who uses them to envision and build a building? Is an x-ray machine, prescription medicine, stethoscope, needle, etc. greater than the doctor who uses them to help heal patients? Would we consider the guitar, piano, drums, microphone, speakers, etc. to be of greater importance than the musician or singer who uses them to create music? Do we praise the tool and instrument, or the one(s) who wields, employs, and uses them? Would we rather have a deep, vibrant relationship with that person, or simply settle for having some of their things for a little while instead?
So then, shouldn’t we love the Creator more than created things? Ought we give all honor, praise, and glory to the uncaused-cause, to the prime-mover, to the God who created and sustains us, for He is the provider of all we have. Therefore, He alone is who deserves all of our greatest affection. Shouldn’t we joyfully use the time and resources God blessed us with to further His glorious renown, His beautiful kingdom, His great purpose? Praise should not ultimately terminate on us or any created beings.
As Paul wrote in Ephesians, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” So in the end, it is God who is due all honor, glory, praise, and recognition for anything good that we have or have done. Why then, would we want to settle for trinkets and finite earthly treasures, rather than pursuing our Creator?
Related recommended passages:
1st Timothy 6:10