Summary: Matthew 6:19-21 teaches us that you can't take treasures with you to heaven, but you can send them ahead of you.


Today I am beginning a new series of messages that I am calling, “Lay Up Treasures in Heaven.”

Much of the material in this series of messages is based on a book by Randy Alcorn that is titled, The Treasure Principle. I would like to read the introduction to you:

All your life, you’ve been on a treasure hunt. You’ve been searching for a perfect person and a perfect place. If you’re a Christian, you’ve already met that person—Jesus. And you’re headed to that place—Heaven.

But there’s a problem. You’re not yet living with Him in that place!

If you’ve asked Jesus Christ to forgive your sins, He’s rescued you from eternal condemnation and given you new life.

Your salvation isn’t dependent on anything you have done or will ever do. Rather, it’s God’s gift to you, secured by Christ’s death and resurrection. This is the Gospel, the “good news of happiness” (Isaiah 52:7, ESV), the “good news of great joy” (Luke 2:10, ESV).

Being saved from your sins is not about you giving to God; it’s about God giving to you.

If you don’t know Him, placing your faith in Jesus is the best choice you can ever make. By God’s empowering grace, I pray you’ll do it soon.

However, it’s possible you already have a relationship with Jesus but feel you aren’t experiencing the joy God intends. Maybe you attend church regularly, pray, and read the Bible. But life can still be drudgery, can’t it? You dutifully put one foot in front of the other, plodding across the hot, barren ground, longing for an elusive joy you can’t seem to find. You sense something is missing, but you don’t know what.

Jesus addressed that missing element when He told a story about a hidden treasure that, once discovered, brings life-changing joy. But before we start on our journey, I want you to know something. Some books try to motivate giving out of guilt. This isn’t one of them.

This book is about something else—the joy of giving. The Treasure Principle has long been buried. It’s time to unearth this simple yet profound idea—one with radical implications. Once you grasp it and put it into practice, nothing will ever look the same. And you won’t want it to.

When you discover the secret joy of the Treasure Principle, I guarantee you’ll never be content with less.

Let’s read about the Treasure Principle in Matthew 6:19-21:

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)


Alcorn begins his book with the following illustration:

A first-century Hebrew walks alone on a hot afternoon, staff in hand. His shoulders are stooped, his tunic stained with sweat. But he doesn’t stop to rest. He has pressing business in the city.

He veers off the road into a field, seeking a shortcut. The owner won’t mind—travelers are permitted this courtesy. The field is uneven. To keep his balance he thrusts his staff into the dirt.

Thunk. The staff strikes something hard.

He stops, wipes his brow, and pokes again.

Thunk. Something’s under there, and it’s not a rock. The weary traveler’s curiosity wins out. He jabs at the ground. Something reflects a sliver of sunlight. He drops to his knees and starts digging.

Five minutes later, he’s uncovered a case fringed in gold. By the looks of it, it’s been there for decades. Hands shaking and heart racing, he pries off the lock and opens the lid.

Gold coins! Jewelry! Precious stones! A treasure more valuable than anything he’s ever imagined.

Some wealthy man must have buried the treasure and died suddenly, its secret location dying with him. There’s no homestead nearby. Surely the current landowner has no clue this ancient treasure is here.

The traveler buries the chest and marks the spot. He turns to head home—only now he’s not plodding. He’s skipping like a child and smiling broadly.

What a find! Unbelievable! I’ve got to have that treasure! But I can’t just take it. By law, whoever buys a field assumes ownership of all that’s in it. But how can I afford to buy it? I’ll sell my farm…and crops…all my tools…my prize oxen. Yes, if I sell everything, that should be enough!

From the moment of his discovery, the traveler’s life changes. The treasure captures his imagination. It’s his reference point, his new center of gravity. The traveler takes every new step with this treasure in mind. He experiences a radical paradigm shift. This story is captured by Jesus in a single verse: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field” (Matthew 13:44).

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