When Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth” (Matthew 6:19), the term “lay up” is often believed to mean “having possessions.” But it did not simply speak of having possessions, but of your possessions having you. The term “lay up” is better understood as a hoard. In this passage, Jesus is not saying that it is wrong to have things as many often believe. He was warning against becoming materialistic or letting things become more important than God. God created us to love people and use things, but a materialist loves things and uses people. Jesus did not lift up poverty as some great virtue. In fact, only one time did He tell someone – the rich young ruler – to sell his possessions and give to the poor. The rich young ruler was possessed by his possessions. When Jesus said, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:21), the Bible says that he went away sorrowful. This was a test to see whether God was more important to him than his things.