Where is your treasure?
Fr. Scott A. Haynes
Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…
When we think of treasures, we tend to think of material things. But the houses, cars and clothes that we may treasure in this life will stay here on this earth when we go to meet God. But those gifts you give to God, through the church or the poor; will be saved for you as a treasure in heaven. If, in this life, we refuse to give to God, by not supporting the poor or supporting to the Church in some way, we are actually robbing ourselves by refusing to lay up a treasure in heaven.
The Old Testament knew this principle, for in Proverbs we read,
“He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, He will pay back what he has given” (Proverbs 19:17).
So, the work of mercy is a loan that you give to God and God will definitely pay you back in heaven where He stores your offerings as your personal “deposits.” God, who wants to reward us for the little we do, will even reward you for a cup of cold water, as He promised in Matthew’s Gospel:
“And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward” (Matthew 10:42).
We can lay up many treasures in heaven. If you help someone during a hard time by comforting him, advising him, encouraging him, or standing by him in any way, God will add these kind efforts to your treasure in heaven. All these works will be written in your Book of Life that will be read before all the creation on the Day of Judgment, as it is written in the Book of Revelation:
“And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books” (Revelation 20:12).
The treasures that you lay up in heaven might also include those good works that you do but which are ignored. St. Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews states:
“For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Hebrews 6:10).
For example, parents who work hard in raising their children usually do so without a word of gratitude but as St Matthew tells us:
“Your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” (Matthew 6:4).
If we do good in the vineyard of the Lord, we know that heavenly treasure is being laid up for us. St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians states:
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
St. Paul also teaches:
“Each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor” (1 Corinthians 3:8).
At one monastery, one of the young novices used to help an old monk in secret by taking his jug to a fresh spring that was far from the monastery to fill the jug with the best water. One time in doing this, as he was returning to the monastery he turned around and saw an angel behind him holding a book and writing down his good deed. The personal spiritual effort that put forth in resisting sin can be included among the treasures that we can lay up in heaven. So, when you resist temptation, when you pray and fast, when you do some charitable act for your neighbor, you are storing up treasure in heaven.
God tells us in the Book of Revelation:
“I know your works, your labor, your patience…and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary” (Revelation 2:2-3).
If we learn to live in this earthly life treasuring heavenly things, we shall have many treasures laid up for us in the kingdom of God. For when we choose the love of God, we gain all of paradise of unending love in heaven.