Matthew 6:19 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 6:19, NIV: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal."

Matthew 6:19, ESV: "“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,"

Matthew 6:19, KJV: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:"

Matthew 6:19, NASB: "'Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal."

Matthew 6:19, NLT: "'Don't store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal."

Matthew 6:19, CSB: ""Don't store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal."

What does Matthew 6:19 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1–2) continues here. Jesus is emphasizing what it means to lead a righteous life on earth. Those hearing Him for the first time may have been surprised how different His message sounded, compared to Israel's religious leaders. Most religious leaders in that era focused entirely on words and actions—on outward behaviors. Jesus has been teaching that what God cares about most, and what ultimately determines righteousness, are the motivations of a sincere heart. What we do and why we do it both factor into God's approval (Matthew 6:1–2; 5–6; 16–17).

Now Jesus turns to focus on money and possessions. He tells His followers not to stockpile material goods in this life. He will soon clarify why this is such a dangerous practice (Matthew 6:24). He begins here by saying that money and possessions are not dependable. They are easily lost. Clothing and other fabric can be eaten by moths. Metal objects rust. Thieves skillfully identify the wealthy and break into homes to steal their goods. Disaster and chaos can take every material possession we have in an instant.

In short, material possessions are temporary. Jesus points out that no one can possibly build up enough wealth to guarantee—without any risk—that they'll have their needs met forever. More importantly as a common English expression goes, "you can't take it with you" (Luke 12:19–20).

As with prior teachings, Jesus' meaning here is about the hearts and motivations of God's people. This does not mean Christians should never have any money, or own property, or that they cannot have a bank account. Paul will teach clearly that believers must provide for their families (1 Timothy 5:8) and wisdom demands some planning for even our temporary future on earth (Proverbs 6:6–8). Wealth is like any other blessing from God (1 Timothy 4:4) and can be used according to His purposes.

What is dangerous is becoming dependent on worldly wealth—crossing the line into greed or materialism. Those heart questions are the issues Jesus will challenge in the following verses.