“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 destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Something I used to struggle with is pride. I still do sometimes. It’s easy to do in today’s society. Worth is based on accomplishments, achievements, and wealth. In America today, it’s drilled into your head the harder you work the more you’ll have or do. Work your way to the top. If you want something you have to earn it. My dad used to say, “if you can’t afford it, you don’t need/want it.” He used need or want depending on the context of whatever we were talking about at the moment.
Even when doing something nice for someone, it’s easy to be proud of helping them. Or solving their problems. I did that! I’ve had that problem. It’s messed up a few things in my life. I’ve helped people and been so proud we are no longer friends. Or I’ve worked so much I’ve alienated people. I’ve even missed out on things because I’ve been to busy trying to get stuff or earn fake points for being a good person.
“Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.” - Proverbs 16:18
Ever played a game with someone, be it video game, board game, or sports ball, and they were beating you so bad, and maybe rubbing it in that it wasn’t fun anymore? Or been around a one-upper that always does something more grandiose than you, good or bad? Yeah, I have. I’ve also been that person. It’s easy to forget sometimes that in the quest for the top or the win, you lose what’s really important in life: friends and family, love of people, or even God.
Thank God, literally, that by grace are we saved through faith and not of works, so that no man can boast.
There’s a goal I want to achieve daily. I love it when God is glorified through our works. I often worry that when I do something, at least now, that people will think I want to do it so I look good. Totally not the case. I’m ok being a behind the scenes guy. The pride for me is when something goes right, or works, or is accomplished. It’s not that people know I did it. For instance, if I help someone, I can’t fix them. God can, and God will. So I can’t take credit. Nothing I did changed them. God might have used me to help with some stuff, but God Almighty is the hero, not me. And as a Child of God, I am ok with that. I love it. God gets all the glory, as it should be.
The thing about Matthew 6 comes before the verses I started with. Jesus tells the people that they should not pray out loud and use lots of words like the heathens for they have their reward. Or that we should not put on a show when we do good deeds of charity, for if we do we have our reward. If we are doing things for the world to see and applaud, the reward is the world sees it and applauds it. Like that song that says I live for the applause. Your treasure is on earth and that’s where your reward is. But if we do them quietly, for the sake of just doing good, to help, or to glorify God, then we do them for a heavenly reward. For God’s glory. In other words, if we aren’t doing things openly for recognition, then God rewards us.
You ever done anything nice for someone without them knowing? Left some money in an envelope for a friend you knew needed it? Sent a card, or even a text that says hey, thinking of you? Anything? Felt good didn’t it? Felt nice to help others up, didn’t it? Here’s the thing, no matter how much fame and wealth you achieve, when you die and go to Heaven and see Jesus, it won’t amount to anything. Fame and wealth are worthless in Heaven. They are a worthless currency. But being good to people, treating them kindly, showing them how Jesus was, that is worth something. Grabbing on to people and helping them find the Lord, that’s the ticket.
In the chapter before, Jesus says blessed are the poor in spirit. After some reading, time, and prayer, I have come to learn that this is what he means. Theirs is the kingdom of Heaven because they realize that pride doesn’t matter. Your accomplishments, your earnings. None of that gets you into Heaven. Not even doing good things. But doing things because they are good to do, for no reward other than someone else getting help, that’s laying up treasures in Heaven. You’re doing it for God. And that is it’s own reward. He did for me when I did not deserve it, especially not salvation. So in the same way, I will do for others.