I always enjoy watching the movie National Treasure. It centers on Nicolas Cage’s character and his quest to find the ‘knights templar’ treasure, a treasure of incalculable value. Throughout the movie he goes to unbelievable lengths to find the clues that he believes will lead to the treasure. He steals the Declaration of Independence, runs chemical tests on it (while protecting it from damage!), steals his father’s car, trespasses on government property, gets arrested, flees custody, breaks into more buildings, and risks his life going down a 250-year-old wooden staircase. Needless to say, he was compelled, or resolved, to find that treasure no matter the cost.
I believe Scripture calls us to pursue eternal treasure in much the same way – with complete resolve and reckless abandonment of all else. For a long time, Jesus’ words in Matthew 6: 19-21 led me to ask a question. Jesus says there:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
The question I always wondered when reading those verses was, “What is the motivation for this mindset? If we are saved solely by grace and not by works, then what treasure am I storing in heaven? And will we have different amounts of treasure in heaven? And if that is true, how will that work and there not be jealousy or envy?
I believe Jesus tells us this because our progress in sanctification now will be reflected in our capacity for joy in heaven. This means my day-to-day living as a Christian has eternal significance. Andy Davis writes in his book, An Infinite Journey:
“I believe the progress we will have made will affect our eternal joy: the greater our sanctification on earth, the greater our enjoyment of Christ in eternity. The measure we will have used on earth will be reflected in the measure we will be given to glorify God in heaven. If we were satisfied with a little of Christ on earth, that small measure will be reflected and perfected in heaven. If we pressed on to an ever-greater measure of holy joy in Christ, that larger measure will be reflected in heaven. Not a single redeemed person will be dissatisfied by his or her heavenly portion, but not all will have equal experience of heavenly joy. By their earthly sacrifices in personal holiness and other-worldly ambitions, some will soar above others in heavenly capacity to savor the infinite greatness of God in Christ.”
Our capacity to enjoy Christ for all eternity will be shaped by the extent to which we pursued sanctification and holiness while living here. This is why Jesus tells us to store up treasures in heaven – they are eternal treasures that will never fade. Notice also how he says there isn’t a single redeemed person that will be dissatisfied by their portion – this removes the jealousy and envy problem.
This radically changes how I view today. I want to live every single day that The Lord gives me with the aim to absolutely maximize my joy in Christ for all eternity. I want to store up as much possible treasure in heaven to be able to savor the greatness of Jesus Christ forever. There is an eternal value to the way I view and live today (see 1 Timothy 4: 7-8).
So, what motivates you to live today as a Christ follower? What motivates you to kill that sin that keeps creeping into your heart and mind? What motivates you to a life of service and laying down your life for others, when it seems as though it would bring you more joy to do the opposite? What motivates you to work hard to read, understand, and apply the Scriptures to your life?
First and foremost, our motivation is the glory of God. Another large part of the motivation are the treasures we are storing up for all eternity. Nothing you do for Christ on earth is wasted. “Any effort toward holy affections and genuine sanctification will serve eternally in enjoying God.” It is treasure stored where moth and rust don’t destroy, and where thieves can’t break in and steal it. It is eternal treasure that helps you to eternally savor the glory of God.
So, if you are struggling with motivation toward holy living or killing sin that so easily snares and entangles, remember Christ’s words in Matthew 6. Every effort, every good work, whether seen or unseen by anyone else now, is always seen by Christ and all of those efforts and good works and pursuits of Christlikeness are eternal treasures that you are storing and will enjoy for all eternity.
Pursue treasure like Nicolas Cage. But pursue heavenly treasure – and pursue it with complete resolve, great hope, and unshakeable joy. Not one of your efforts will be wasted! And, the treasure you are storing for eternity will bring you more joy even today than anything else this world has to offer. Live in pursuit of maximum treasure!
 Andrew Davis, An Infinite Journey, 1st ed. (Greenville: Ambassador Books), 466-467.
 Davis, An Infinite Journey, 467.