Nancy Hatcher, Volunteer Writer, South Barrington | July 12, 2023

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 

Matthew 6:19-21

What word usually comes second in this phrase? Buried ______.

Summer seems to bring out the inner pirate in me. There has never been a child I know that doesn’t love to search for buried treasure; or love the lure of finding a fossil, a colorful shell, or an arrowhead while camping. 

At age twelve, I started working for a living: babysitting. My idea of treasure changed. I saved my stacks of green and hoarded them, finding a new hiding place for my stash weekly, living in fear that my sisters would steal my treasure. I never spent, just accumulated. 

Recently, I surveyed four adults and asked what they treasured as a child. One of my friends valued his toy farm machinery because his grandparents were farmers, another said their family cottage where they spent every summer, and another’s response was his Uncle’s catcher’s mitt after his days of playing were over. Another cherished doll clothes that her grandma designed and stitched. 

Does the above scripture mean we shouldn’t treasure tangible things? Is Jesus saying that we shouldn’t enjoy our pleasures and possessions?

No, he isn’t.  

But he does give advice about treasuring things that won’t last. 

Looking back at the survey of my friends, I noticed something powerful. The things that were treasured and remembered by each of them had something in common; the things they treasured were the physical representations of relationships they cherished. And at the root of all those relationships was love. 

Eventually, my 12-year-old self would grow to learn that no stack of greens would compare to the source of love—Jesus. It is He, Love, that forgives me and sustains me. He is our treasure on Earth— living and breathing in and through us. Therefore, relationships must not be based on fleeting things but on God and His mission for us. 

Many have chanted this phrase to me over the years, “You can’t take it with you.” 

But you can take Jesus with you; Jesus isn’t a buried treasure. He is alive. And He is the only treasure that lasts forever.

Next Steps 

Spend some time reflecting on what you treasure in life. Are you placing greater value on things or people? Where does Jesus fall in the mix? 

Going Deeper

Grab that printout again, or your Bible. Today, mark any transition phases you see in the text and then take a few moments to summarize the chapter in just a few sentences.