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 destroy and where thieves cannot break in a steal – for where your treasure is there your heart will be.Matthew 6:19-21
Jesus Christ has an unmatched ability to condense profound truths into a few statements. There are many dimensions and layers about the heart, love, the aim of life, and living wisely tightly woven together in this short passage.
One of the threads he weaves is about how the wisest person is the one who loves well and properly; they love what they are supposed to love, their affections are anchored to what is most worthy and deserving. The wise person treasures above all what has substance, depth, permanence and durability; rather than what is trivial, shallow and fleeting.
The next question naturally is what should I treasure and love then if I am wise? What has great value? What has permanence and durability, rather than being fleeting and flimsy? Heaven says Jesus and not what is on earth. By heaven of course he means a place where God lives and organizes all things in harmony with his will, his purpose, his actions, his infinite goodness, radiant love and unending joy. Treasure what is found in heaven and ultimately at the centre of heaven is God himself. Jesus assures us that placing our hearts in heaven with God is the only secure place for them.
This piece of advice follows naturally from Jesus worldview about what human beings are made for; Jesus presupposes that God made human beings in his image and therefore made human beings to find their fulfillment, perfection and purpose in friendship, fellowship and union with God.
Anything else is simply not secure enough to handle the weight of our hearts. It reminded me of David Foster Wallace’s famous key note speech, where he sensed the gravity of this reality in his own way:
If you worship [lay up treasures in] money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship [lay up treasures in] your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you…Worship [lay up treasures in] power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out.David Foster Wallace
Jesus admonishes us to love wisely; the foolish person treasures and loves what has no true lasting value when viewed through the lens of eternity, the wise person loves what has substance and permanence and therefore loves well.