Treasures Laid Up in Heaven

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” —Matthew 6:19-21

PLEASURE, delight, joy, comfort, all these sentiments are suggested to us by the word “treasure.” Our thoughts, our hopes, our plans, center there. Our treasure is the inspiration of our lives, the incentive to energy, perseverance, and endurance, for the hope which it enkindles. Most people have treasures, but they are generally such as yield slight satisfaction, because they are transitory and disappointing. How many have built their hopes upon earthly things only to find them but illusive bubbles, mocking delusions, leaving the heart at last broken, crushed, and barren. The treasures of wealth, fame, social distinction, of houses and lands, of friends and home and family, of power and influence, are subject to change and decay. And if the heart be centered in them, they are liable in a moment to be swept away, leaving the life desolate and despairing, all the more so because of the high hopes which they had inspired.

The material wealth, laboriously gathered and husbanded with great care, may vanish in a night. The fame so dearly won may change to censure and reproach at the caprice of fickle public sentiment. The social prestige which bade you to the uppermost seat may a little later relegate you to the lowest seat, and your name may be cast out as evil and you be ostracized. Houses and lands and carefully hoarded belongings may disappear under the sheriff’s hammer. Friends long trusted may suddenly grow cold and turn their backs upon you, and even become your enemies. The home you love must sometime break up, the family be scattered or invaded by death. The love that glows upon the home altar may flicker and become dim or extinct. How many have found the high hopes of youth and early life turn to ashes in a few short years or months!

The Balm of Gilead for Broken Hearts

To all of these the Word of the Lord should appeal with special force when calling them to come to him with their burdens and their broken hearts. “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” (Ps. 34:18) His love and his precious promises come like the sweet balm of Gilead to those who, sad and disappointed in the struggle of life, come to Christ for rest and comfort, for life and healing. Many storm-tossed mariners upon life’s ocean, discouraged and despairing, bereft of all hope, have found that these very experiences were the means of leading them to the haven of eternal refuge. There alone true blessing and safety can be found; there alone is the real treasure, far exceeding the choicest treasures of earth.

We think of an experience in the past of a dear brother who found the Lord when his earthly treasures had been swept away from him—all the savings of years—through conditions brought about because of the European war. He had lost all hope and was about to end his life by his own hand, when present truth was brought to his attention. He listened, embraced it with joy, and secured a set of Studies in the Scriptures. Afterward he stated that he then knew why he had been permitted to meet with such reverses—it was to lead him to the Lord. How this dear one can now rejoice in his sorrowful experiences and realize that he has gained in exchange the “pearl of great price,” beside which all other treasures pale into insignificance!

Truly, in this our day, as never before perhaps, it would seem that all who have the spirit of a sound mind to any degree should be longing for a treasure which will be secure, a rock upon which they may plant their feet, a rock which will securely hold in these days of stress and uncertainty, when men feel that everything is slipping from beneath their feet, when nothing earthly is sure, when fear with distress is on every hand. At such a time as this, how blest are we who are safe-sheltered in the cleft of the Rock of Ages, which cannot be shaken by the mightiest earthquake shock! How unspeakably precious is the treasure we have laid up in heaven; for we know our treasure is safe, where no storms or billows can touch it.

The Treasures We Lay Up in Heaven

The all-important question for those who seek this great treasure then is, how can we lay up treasure in heaven, and what kind of treasures are those which are to be stored up in the heavenly depository? We have the assurance of the divine Word that everything that is pure, holy, and good is acceptable there. The very chiefest of all treasures is the personal love and friendship of God and of Christ. Jesus becomes to us “the fairest among ten thousand, the One altogether lovely.” He is an unfailing Refuge in every time of need, our daily joy and solace and comfort.

When we have gained this treasure we have gained the One that never changes. He is the One whose love never grows cold, and from whom nothing can separate us—“neither death,” which to us, his loved ones, will mean our blessed “change”; “nor life,” which means further opportunities for suffering with him that we may also share his glory, and which permits further works of loving service for him whom we love; “nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers,” for these cannot harm us who are sheltered in Christ; “nor things present, nor things to come,” for all things shall work together for our good, and in every trial he will direct the issue that we may be able to bear it; “nor height” of temporary exaltation; “nor depth” of trouble or sorrow, for our Refuge and Strength is ever near; “nor any other creature,” for he has promised to keep the feet of his saints, and that nothing shall touch them as new creatures in Christ, and that his presence shall be with them wherever they may be.—Rom. 8:35-39; I Sam. 2:9; Luke 10:19; Exod. 33:14

Nor will any other creatures either in heaven or in earth receive such marks of special favor as are and ever will be the portion of the beloved bride of Christ. Although the whole family in heaven and in earth will be blessed through him, his overcoming church (cooperating with him in his work) will alone be his companion, his confidante, his treasure. Hear the Lord’s exhortation to the bride class: “Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear. Forget also thine own people and thy father’s house [the ambitions, hopes, and aims of the children of Adam]; so shall the King [Jehovah’s Anointed] greatly desire thy beauty [beauty of character, of heart-loyalty]; for he is thy Lord, and worship thou him.” (Ps. 45:10,11) How unworthy we feel of such great honor and love from our beloved Bridegroom! And no wonder! When we look at all our imperfections, it seems that there is little in us to call forth such love and admiration. To think that the angels with all their purity and faithfulness should have been passed by, and that we poor, blemished mortals should be chosen instead!

Is there not some mistake? Ah, no! We have the infallible words of inspiration to assure us that it is even so. This bride of Jehovah’s Son is to reign with him in the future over a fallen race; and who could so well sympathize with them in all their weaknesses and fragilities as those who have themselves partaken of the same? And who could bear with humility the infinite heights of glory to which the Lamb’s wife will be raised? Only those who realize that it was not through any worthiness of their own that they were chosen to so high an exaltation, but that it was all of divine grace. Clad in the glorious righteous robe of our Bridegroom’s furnishing, we can stand all complete, even now, in the eyes of Jehovah. And possessing the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, the faith that trusts under every condition, the love that delights to do the Father’s will, we are lovely in the eyes of our Beloved, our Bridegroom and our King.

Having this confidence, we can with unspeakable joy and gratitude lay hold on the exceeding great and precious promises which are ours through Christ. We can, then, without presumption, press along the line toward the prize of our high calling, humbly trusting that he who has begun the good work in us will complete it unto the day of our glorification with our Bridegroom in the heavenly kingdom. We shall then be presented before the Father “without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,” gloriously complete and perfect, fitted and prepared for the wonderful work which we shall share with our blessed Lord and King.

Incentive to Faithfulness

Listen to some of the blessed and inspiring promises with which the Father and the Son cheer the bride: “Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty.” Ye “shall be mine, in that day when I make up my jewels.” “I will give [thee] to eat of the hidden manna, and I will give [thee] a white stone [a precious token of love], and in the stone a new name written [the name of our Bridegroom, henceforth to be our name] which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” “Lo, I am with you alway.” “And if I go away, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also [and he has come; he is even now present and will soon receive us unto himself forevermore].” “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne.”—Isa. 33:17; Mal. 3:17; Rev. 2:17; Matt. 28:20; John 14:3; Rev. 2:10; 3:21

Precious promises are these, wonderful words of life! Let us count them over and over again, that all their sweet significance may sink deep into our hearts and bring forth their blessed fruitage in our lives. May they cheer us in every dark and trying hour and reinforce our waning powers with renewed vigor, courage, and zeal, that we may press along the narrow way until indeed our “eyes shall see the King in his beauty.” What wondrous treasures do we thus find laid up in heaven for us, because we have left the world and all its delusive fancies and aspirations and have laid hold upon the things eternal! And while this glorious inheritance is to be the possession of all the faithful, the apostle intimates clearly that our heavenly treasure may be augmented by special zeal and faithfulness under the peculiar trials of the present time.

One of the treasures which we may lay up in heaven will be the marks of just approval and distinction from our Lord, which patient endurance of affliction, unwavering trust under crucial trials and testings, and diligence in the King’s business will secure to us. Treasures of mind and character, too, we shall find laid up in heaven, for nothing that is good and true and worthy of preservation shall be lost to those who have committed their investments to the Lord. These are incorruptible treasures, which neither the lapse of time nor the exigencies of circumstances will ever wrest from us.

Heavenly Pilgrims Nearing Home

Then, dear brethren and sisters in Christ, let us keep our eyes steadfastly set upon the heavenly, eternal things. Let us more and more lay up treasures where moth and rust cannot corrupt and where thieves cannot break through and steal.” (Matt. 6:20) If our hearts are upon the heavenly treasures, then the disappointments and afflictions of the present life cannot overwhelm us. Whatsoever things are the worthy aspirations of the spiritual sons of God are our real treasures, and they are the only things that are worthwhile. What care we for the illusive bubbles of this poor life, so soon to burst and disappear? Then, as sings the poet, “Let us touch lightly the things of this earth, esteeming them only of trifling worth,” not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us if we faint not by the way. But with our pilgrim’s staff in hand, we shall press along the heavenly road until we reach the goal of our hopes.

As the sun sinks at the close of each day and the shadows gather around us, how sweet to sing, “I’m one day nearer home!” We have nearly reached the mountain-top, and every day multiplies the evidences that the journey is nearing its end. Just how long it will be we cannot know—probably it is best that we do not know. But we believe that it will not be very long.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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