Reflection for May 21, 2023

‘Near to the Heart of God’

~ Matthew 6:19-21 ~


  • This is part of Jesus ‘Sermon on the Mount’ discourse, which is familiar to most of us;
  • As you read Chapters 5-7, it almost feels like you are reading the New Testament ‘edition’ of the 10 Commandments;
  • But Jesus’ teaching was NOT what the scribes and Pharisees wanted to hear!  Why?  His teaching was ‘radical’, as He did not come to destroy or change the law but to ‘reinforce’ it and to ‘fulfill’ it (5:17).  And He did this by going to the HEART of the law – the very heart of God!
  • And we find this summed up in Matthew 22:37, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind”.  Above all else it is Loving God – first and foremost!

But you may ask: what has this to do with ‘laying up treasure in heaven’?  Everything!  For we will see (I trust) that when we truly love God & make Him our supreme treasure, then our hearts will be truly be as rest – near to the heart of God!

  1. A Misplaced (divided) Heart
  2. Illustration: Story of a woman from Florida who had a ‘floating heart’, doctor couldn’t find it, had to use water to move it back into position!  Amazing!
  3. But could that be said of you spiritually speaking?  Have you a ‘Misplaced Heart’ toward God?

This is what Jesus said was taking place when we lay up treasure for ourselves!  We are gathering and hoarding ‘stuff’, which is pulling us away from the heart of God!  And the result is a misplaced heart!

We see this from what Jesus said in v.24 of our reading (READ).  He is not saying that we shouldn’t work hard (Rom.12:11), or provide for our family (1 Tim. 5:8) or prepare for future days (Prov.6:6-8).  But He is saying: where is your heart?  What are you setting your joys and affections in?  The world or in God? (“If riches increase, do not set your heart on them” Ps.62:10)

That is why we must stop and ask:

  1. Why do we do this? (lay up treasure for ourselves)
  2. The simple answer is: SIN, the sinful nature.  You see, human nature has not changed!  Even in Jesus day, people wanted to be noticed and praised: fasting, praying, giving etc.  And this showed what the heart of man was really like and what he (she) really delighted in!
  3. Just as we read in 1 Sam.16:7 “man looks on the outward appearance…the LORD looks on the heart”;
  4. And what does the Lord see?  Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful…who can know it?”

Look at Israel: their hearts were led astray (Ps.95:10), they lusted after Egypt and false gods, and they committed idolatry of heart!  As God said: “…they worship (honour) me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Isa.29:13).

  • Could that be said of you today?
  • I believe this is a clear indicator that our hearts are far from the Lord when we lay up treasure for ourselves!  Wanting to be the king of our own kingdom!
  • What is the outcome/effects?

We read this in v.19…corruption!  It doesn’t matter what we have or who we are, ALL our ‘treasure’ is liable to corruption! (Like 50 year Shingles!!)

To explain this I want us to turn to Luke 12:16-21…

  • Here is a man who has done well for himself, he can pat himself on the back, ‘what a great job I’ve done’;
  • But he has lived for HIMSELF, to please HIMSELF and God is not in the picture!  The result? (v.20)
  • You have heard the phrase: ‘you enter the world with a closed fist but leave it with an empty hand’ – we bring nothing into this world and we can take nothing out of it!
  • The only thing that counts, for time and eternity, is being ‘rich toward God’ (v.21) – living to please Him!
  • Are you living to please yourself or to please God?
  • If we live to please ourselves, the effects will not only be: (a) a Misplaced Heart, but also (b) a Misdirected Mind and (c) a Misaligned Will.  [Hendrickson]

So what’s the remedy?  How can we get near to the heart of God?

  • A Meek (Broken) Heart
  • When we think of something that is ‘meek’ we think of ‘weakness’ or something that is useless!
  • But that is the opposite in God’s eyes…for to be truly meek and broken before God is to: (1) Come to the end of trusting in yourself, (2) Cast yourself upon God for mercy, and (3) Confess Him as your all in all. (Ps.51:17)

This is the complete opposite to a ‘misplaced heart’, which lays up treasure for itself!  A ‘meek heart’ has found the REAL, lasting treasure: (PTO)

  1. What (who) is this treasure?

If we are to lay up treasure “in heaven” then it is clear that our treasure must be God alone!  Just as God said to Abram in Genesis 15:1 – “Do not be afraid Abram, I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward”.

When we come to God through Christ, yielding our hearts to Him in complete surrender, we have the ‘pearl of great price’!  We have what money can never buy and what the world can never offer!  Namely: (1) Salvation through grace alone (2) Assurance of a home in heaven (3) Direction for our future (4) Freedom from our past (5) Contentment for our present…and the list could go on!  And all this as a ‘down-payment’ here on earth!  But is this your testimony?

Jesus said: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (v.21).

  1. If your treasure is on earth (worldly things), that’s where your heart will be; if your treasure is in heaven (in God) that’s where your heart will be!
  2. The things you spend most of your time doing – that’s what you truly enjoy!  That’s where your heart really is!
  3. Here’s the challenge: What are we truly living for?  What are we investing our lives in?  Are you spending your life on things which don’t (and can never) satisfy?
  4. “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever” – find in Him our ‘all in all’; our Salvation, our Satisfaction, our Joy, our Reward!
  5. “None but CHRIST can satisfy”

How can we remain near the heart of God and lay up treasure in heaven?

  1. Yield your heart & life to Him; (Joel 2:13)
  2. Seek His will in every area of your life; (Mt.6:33)
  3. Keep short accounts with Him;
  4. Remember all you have belongs to Him.

I close with the words of Jim Elliot: ‘He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose’. What is your heart toward God?  Misplaced or Meek?

Timothy Condy

General Director, Faith Mission Canada

1 Comment

  • by Currie Phillips Posted June 11, 2023 8:53 pm

    Excellent message, Tim!!

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