How Much Is Enough?

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

(Matthew 6:19-21)

We all go through periods in our life where we desire to have something we see. I remember a few years back I happened to try steamed dumplings at our local Chinese restaurant. From that point on, I was hooked! I remember driving home one night and the thought of steamed dumplings was going through my mind and before I knew it, my mouth was watering. I ended up ordering some. But when it continued to happen, I knew this wasn’t a good thing (though a very tasty thing but definitely not a good thing for me). I had to combat the thoughts or blow all of my money on steamed dumplings not to mention the added weight I would gain! Still, the desire to have something so tasty was strong.

How often do we do this with others things? We have to have those new shoes, shirt or pants. We have to have that new car or motorcycle. We have to have that new updated cellphone (though our old one works just fine) or ipad. We have to get that item we saw in the store the other day. The list goes on. The pull to have things can be so strong that we find ourselves thinking about it continuously until we have it in our possession. It doesn’t stop there. Sometimes we do this with money as well. If we work just a few more hours or get one more job we can make just a little bit more money to get what we want. If I just have this or that, I’ll be happy. The problem is, we are never happy because there is always just one more thing. There’s always “just a few more dollars”. So I ask you today, how much is enough?

In chapter 6, Jesus is speaking to the multitudes and He’s telling them not to store up treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. He is trying to get across to the people, and us today, that we should not become attached to these things we consider treasures. This could be considered money, clothing, homes, etc. In our time it can be considered technology, vehicles, or anything we consider of value. He is trying to dissuade us of covetousness. How often do we desire that which we don’t have or that which we see other people have? How often do we put our focus on finances and worldly possessions? Anything we put more focus on instead of God is idolatry. All of these things that we store up in our hearts and desiring to have are all temporary things. They don’t last forever and can be destroyed by moth and rust and thieves can break in and steal it from us. They may provide momentary pleasure but soon the newness wears off and our eyes are fixed on something else. A good example is our own children. Come Christmas time or birthdays they want a toy so badly prior to those days that they almost drive their parents nuts asking for it. The parent, loving their child so much and wanting to make him/her happy, will go to every extreme to get that toy only to see the toy tossed aside a few months down the road and their eyes are fixed on something else. We all do this. Yet all of these things are temporary, they don’t last forever and can either be destroyed or stolen.

However, though Jesus gives the people a warning, He also tells them what they should be fixing their sights on…the treasures in heaven. He tells them that the treasures they should focus on cannot be destroyed or stolen. They cannot be corrupted and are worth far more than anything they can get on earth. What are the treasures of heaven?

Mark 10:21 – 2Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

Luke 12:33 – 3Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys.

Matthew 6:33 – Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Luke 12:20-21 – But God said to [the man who built even bigger barns], “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.

Luke 21:1 – Jesus saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them.”

Think about it. Storing up treasures on earth has to do more with “me”. But storing up treasures in heaven has to do more with giving to others and glorifying God through this. It’s all about the heart. Do we have a “me only” heart, or do we have a concern for others type of heart? When we have a concern for others, then we have a heart more like God. Storing up treasures in heaven involves not trying to be rich on earth but instead trying to be rich in heaven. In other words, we become rich in God. Seeking the kingdom means treasuring God and freeing ourselves from the weight of earth.

When we trust Jesus fully, we don’t have to worry about where our next meal will come from, how we will be clothed or where we will live because He will provide the necessities of life as we see in Luke 12:22-24:

Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?

We don’t have to be concerned with keeping up with the Jones’s or being “good enough”. We won’t have that craving to have something we can’t afford and can avoid putting ourselves in never ending debt just to get what we want and try to measure up. This doesn’t mean we aren’t to enjoy what God has given to us or that we can never like anything or buy anything. It simply means we will be satisfied and content with the necessities and not be driven to obtain those things we want on a whim.

So, today I ask you to take a moment and think about where you are at this time in your life. Are you striving to achieve more and more…one more item, one more position, one more car, one more “toy”. Or are you content with what you have and gradually move up the ladder as God promotes you. Do you find yourself thinking about ways to get more for yourself or are you content in sharing what you have with others especially when there is a need, and not worrying whether you will have enough because you know God will provide.

One more question…just how much is enough?