Treasures on Earth –

Denise and Me on a mountain top in Greece – 2015

Hurricane Matthew, the major storm of 2016, has passed through several southern states and is making its way up the eastern seaboard of the United States of America.  The news is full of stories of persons who have lost so much in the storm and its aftermath.  Several persons have shared that the storm has caused them to “Lose everything.”

If a storm washed away your personal possessions, what would hurt you the most?  Could you stand losing personal photographs, clothing and furniture?  What matters most to you?  Jesus Christ taught that we should “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…”

I think back to when my favorite plaques and memorability were placed in storage for the renovation of the church in Detroit, Michigan, where I pastor.  In the oddest of coincidences, a fire broke out in the storage unit and my prized possessions were lost.  For a moment I felt stung.  As I considered the loss, I was reminded me that what I loss was a combination of wood, metal, glass and paper.  The quality and character of my life in no way was impacted by the loss of those things.  Granted, I could no longer clutter the walls of my office with the plaques, but really, who are we really trying to impress with our plaques?  What is the point of plastering your walls with plaques?  Is it to let others know that you are important and a “big shot”?  As it turns out, I have a room in my house where all the other plaques are.  They are not on hanging on the walls, but they are there.  My favorite of the bunch is my “Alumni of the Year” plaque from Hume Center in New Orleans.  This is the child care center where I was potty-trained.  But, even with that plaque, does it make or break the significance of my life?  I smile when I see it, but it does not make or break the value of who I am.

One question that keeps coming back to me is this: “Is it possible to live a life of faith and service to the Lord and to prosper in this world?”  Does a Christian have to be poor?  Some people almost seem to celebrate poverty.  These people include persons who are well-intentioned, they work to end poverty, but at the same time seem to want to keep things as they are.  The predictability of poverty and its side effects gives some Christians something to work to improve.  I believe Jesus desires something more.

If we “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” we set the stage for prosperity and success in this life.  Let me share with you how this is possible.  First, the things that are required to prepare a place for us in heaven means that we live lives of faith, love and self-control.  These qualities will help you to save money, accumulate money and prosper in this world.  Why?  Because you have fewer reasons to waste money, time and the quality of your family and other relationships.

Matthew 6: 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. How can a person strive for “Treasures in heaven” and prosper while on earth?
  2. Is it sinful to desire riches in this life?
  3. What does it mean to “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven”?


Prayer:  Lord, balance my heart.  Teach me how to prioritize my perspective on spiritual things.  Lord, show me how to seek those things that cannot be destroyed by rust, moth and thieves.  Help me to know what really matters and what does not.  Lord, prosper my way, prosper my faith and prosper my love.  Bless me with spiritual balance.  Bless me with a life that matters, relationships that are substantial, faith to move mountains and love that will not fade.  Through Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

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[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Mt 6:19–21). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.