Sound Investment Advice

Matthew 6: 19-23
2 Kgs 11:1-4,9-18, 20 / Ps 132:11-14,17-18

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…
(Matthew 6:19)

I pray that you will discover
The true treasure that God has given;
Nothing on earth lasts forever,
Our best investment is in heaven.

Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6: 19-23)

Reflection

Throughout history, the accumulation of wealth has always been considered as the primary barometer of one’s success in life. However, we find in today’s Gospel reading that our Lord Jesus gives an advice contrary to men’s aspirations and perception of happiness in this life. Being both God and man, naturally our Lord knows absolutely what He is talking about. The treasures of this world can never compare with the treasures in heaven; and a lifetime here on earth (even if one lives for 100 years) is just like a fleeting second compared to eternal life in God’s kingdom. Jesus is simply stating the obvious. Why hoard riches or material possessions in this life which can last no longer than rust or termites can destroy them, or thieves and robbers can take away? Or we can’t take with us when we die anyway?

Our Lord’s advice does not mean acquiring money is wrong, for there are wealthy people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet who use their fortunes to benefit millions of people. The acquisition of money or property only becomes immoral when a rich man aggrandizes his wealth for its sake alone or for his own benefit without regard for others, (like the parable of the rich man and Lazarus). In the eyes of the Lord that rich man is a fool. Jesus said, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?” (Mk.8:36)

The inordinate love for material possessions affects the state of our spiritual health, which is the ‘eye of our soul’ – our conscience. Unfortunately, most people who are wealthy or successful in this world become short-sighted, or their fortunes blur their vision. Thus—“if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness.” The rich man becomes so self-assured and independent that he wanders away from God’s light, and spends his free time enjoying the flickering lights of the night’s vices. Darkness envelops his whole being, and the lamp of his faith grows dim.

We need to keep our vision clear on where we want to spend the rest of eternity after our brief journey here on earth. In the earlier sections of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus showed us how we can keep this lamp of our body sound: by disciplining our passions, such as anger and lust (Mt.5:25,29); making peace with our enemies (Mt.5:44); being charitable to the poor (Mt.6:2); and above all, keeping regular communication with God, our Father through prayer (Mt.6:6). With His guidance, we will be more prudent in the stewardship of our financial resources, enjoying a stable life here on earth, and at the same time investing wisely on the real treasure, which is heaven.

We praise and thank You, Father in heaven, for the wisdom of managing well the resources You have entrusted to us, making us see that when others are also benefited by them, then we have invested wisely, laying up treasures for ourselves in Your kingdom. Amen.

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