Treasure is a hoard, store, or accumulation of riches. Although the word may conjure up in our mind chests filled with gold and jewels, a treasure can consist of anything considered valuable. The main Greek word is thesaurus, which we know as a treasury of synonyms. And God’s Word, a treasury of wisdom, teaches us much about seeking, working for, and keeping the right kind of treasure, while being indifferent to, leery of, even abhorrent of the wrong kind.
God taught such lessons throughout the Old Testament. Early on, Pharaoh enslaved Israel to build treasure cites, a picture of what we all do under the bondage of sin. By faith, Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt (). And given more treasure than most, Solomon spoke by faith many proverbs about it: “In the house of the righteous is much treasure; the treasures of wickedness profit nothing; better is the little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith” ( ). He also said, “I gathered the treasure of kings…so I was great…[but] all was vanity and vexation of spirit” ( ). Indeed, only five years after death, Solomon’s vast earthly treasure was carried away by Pharaoh ( ). And so it would go with the treasure of many kings, good and bad.
The fundamental truth about treasure is this: God is our treasure, and we, the church, are chosen to be His treasure (). Our God is an infinite store of life, righteousness, power, wisdom, grace, and mercy. The world and its fullness is His treasure ( ). He has treasuries of rain ( ), snow and hail ( ), wind ( ), darkness ( ), and food for the belly of man ( ). And yet to His church alone He says this: “If ye will obey my voice indeed and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine” ( ).
The fundamental attitude we must have toward treasure is this: “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…. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (). Jesus taught this. It is essentially the command to believe and trust alone in Him, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge ( ).
Do we? Jesus, knowing both His rich beneficence in giving earthly treasure and our propensity to covet it even while trying to establish our own righteousness, said: “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me” (). Similarly, He likened the kingdom of heaven to treasure in a field, which when a man finds, he sells everything he has, and buys that field ( ).
We must also. Jesus says if we lay up earthly treasures but are not rich toward God, we are fools because our souls could be required at anytime (). He warns such fools: “Ye have heaped up treasure together for the last days” and its corruption “shall eat your flesh as it were fire” ( ). God declares to all who despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering in Christ: “After thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” ( ).
So, lay not up treasure on earth. And we will not, if God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. How can any earthly treasure compare? This is the gospel treasure of Jesus who, although rich and presented at birth with treasures of gold, for our sakes became poor that through His poverty we might become rich (; ). This gospel is a treasury of God’s power to save and make exceedingly rich everyone so instructed in the kingdom of heaven ( ). Lay up for yourselves such treasures in heaven!