Prepare to Listen. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Prayerfully Read Matthew 6:16-21
16And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 19‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Jesus concluded his teaching about spiritual practices done for God’s reward alone with what, at first gaze, appears to change the subject, from acts of piety to storing treasure in heaven. We need a second gaze. He hasn’t changed the subject since treasure in heaven is related to spiritual disciplines, albeit not obviously.
Jesus is concerned with our priorities. We must ask, says N. T. Wright, “Is our eye fixed on God, or on someone (or something) else? What is your priority?” Or, as Bonhoeffer asks, “What are we really devoted to?” Our motivation for doing ‘acts of piety’ is telling. If, like the hypocrites Jesus mentioned, we want to be seen by those around us, our priority is me-centered. We’ll be storing up treasure on earth where it is vulnerable to loss. If our practice is in secret then our motivation is God-centered. Our treasure will be stored in heaven “where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Our reward will be from God.
Heaven, as Jesus and his Jewish audience understood, isn’t an after-death experience, and no more. It “is where God is right now.” God is here and everywhere, right now. Which means that the reward God gives, and the treasure we store, is ours in the present and not just the future. How can we store treasure for now and the future? Wright states, “Learn to live in the presence of the loving father. Learn to do everything for him and him alone. Get your priorities right.”
What are you most devoted to? That’s where your heart is.
Respond in Prayer
Lord, help me today to get my priorities focused on your Kingdom values, not my own vested interests so that I live to your glory alone and lay up treasures in heaven. Amen.
Live Obediently. Choose priorities focused on God’s Kingdom.
 For and explanation of second gaze see: https://www.storymakerlife.com/a-second-gaze.html
 Wright, N. T. Matthew for Everyone Part 1. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press. 2004, p. 62.
 Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. The Cost of Discipleship. New York, NY: The Macmillan Company. 1978, p. 155.
 Wright, Part 1. 2004, p. 63.
Despite having frequently read and taught Matthew's Gospel, preparing these daily devotions, taking that second gaze, has surprised me with newness.