By Chris Martin
Our priority is to seek the kingdom over earthly possessions, replacing worry with trust in God’s provision.
When I was a senior in high school, my dad lost his job because of the recession. He had spent twenty-seven years—his entire professional career—with a large, reliable computer company. Then, like countless others, he lost his job. I had just committed to a private school that cost a lot of money, so my anxiety was high, and I was concerned that my college decision had just put our family in a poor financial situation. I was forced to grapple with anxiety revolving around money for the first time in my life. We were fortunate to not experience as dire circumstances as others did, to be sure, but it required me to trust the Lord in a way I never had to before.
One of the passages I ran to for comfort in those times, and have gone to many times since, is where we find Jesus talking about earthly possessions in His Sermon on the Mount. He says, “Don’t 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 neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19–21).
If we are blessed to spend eighty to ninety years on this earth, we will experience a full length of life. And yet, even those eight or nine decades of life are just a speck on the timeline of our true lives. We are all eternal beings, and yet the trinkets and dollar bills we collect in our pockets and piggy banks are left behind when we move on to the rest of our eternal lives. This reality can be either freeing or frightening, depending on where you find your value. But Jesus could not have been more clear: treasures in heaven are more worthy of our time and pursuit than treasures of earth. This is only logical, isn’t it? If we believe in eternity, isn’t it more valuable to stock up and invest in eternal wealth, rather than in this relatively short life on earth?
Throughout our lives, we will all face decisions that require us to determine our priorities and what we value the most. Sometimes, we will have to decide between faithful obedience and the accrual of wealth. Maybe our bosses will ask us to do something unethical to earn a raise. Whatever it is, many of us will likely have more than one opportunity to decide whether we care more about investing in the kingdom of God or lining our own wallet.
This is where the rubber meets the road with regard to our faith in the kingdom of God: do we believe the kingdom is truly eternal? And is the kingdom more worthy of our lives—our time, attention, resources, and focus—than whatever wealth this temporary world offers us?