Festival of Jesus Christ the Chief Elder
Christ as Chief Elder
Our text for this day, Matthew 6:21, is from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5–7: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” The text does not tell us what the treasure is. It could be anything: money, land, buildings, collectibles, fame, or something else—that thing to which we allow our heart to turn.
Verses 19 and 20 speak of earthly and heavenly treasures. In Matthew’s community, there was most certainly an understanding of “earthly treasures.” This Scripture tells us that earthly treasures might be something consumed by moth; that would rust, rot or become corrupt; or that thieves could steal. The Jewish community of Jesus’ time, and the Jewish followers of Jesus, understood that treasures in heaven include more than the giving of alms, prayer, and fasting. Heavenly treasures also include acts of kindness and deeds of mercy for people in distress. Treasures in heaven also include things of worth in God’s coming kingdom, such as justice, opportunity for all of humanity to be productive, the wherewithal for everyone’s needs to be met, and valuing the dignity of every person.
This text speaks loudly in our context today. It does not say that one must give up everything and live in poverty and destitution. It does say that earthly treasures are fleeting and can disappear in the blink of an eye. It also says that we should focus our hearts on those things that are enduring, everlasting, and eternal. Focusing our heart on those temporary things will not fulfill or complete us, nor will it show our love and devotion to Jesus, our Chief Elder.
Jane Gehler, pastor, Unionville Moravian Church,