Jesus is relentless. Never lets us rest in old ideas. Or even new ones that have become set and quickly growing old. Like a personal trainer always spurring us on to one more rep, he systematically deconstructs any thought or behavior pattern that, regardless of original value, has now become a limitation.
Whenever we feel we’ve arrived: at right action, right thinking, or right belief that is paying off in material wealth or social or religious standing, Jesus is there to say we have our reward in full, which means we’ve only found treasures here on earth. Wonderful as far as they go, but treasures on earth are temporary, fleeting, ultimately unsatisfying, and if they represent the extent of our heart’s desire, then we are bound to them here on earth. Jesus is all about treasures in heaven, an Aramaic idiom for God’s presence, always here and now. Treasures found in God’s presence are forever beyond what moths and rust can destroy or thieves steal, and are what give fulfillment and balance to our necessary pursuit of earthly treasures.
Jesus is not relentlessly challenging our thoughts and behaviors to make us incrementally more lawful or moral or intellectually accurate. He is trying to break us through to a difference of quality, not quantity. You can’t be a little bit pregnant—you’re all in or out. And you can’t be little bit kingdom, a little bit in God’s presence. It’s a complete immersion, inward transformation, an earth shattering shift in perception and values that allows us to see what was invisible before.
Jesus’ metaphor of the clear eye that illuminates every part of ourselves is another expression of this relentless pursuit of a different quality of seeing and perceiving rooted in first matching our deepest desire to God’s. When we desire most what God desires eternally, what God is—connection, oneness, forgiveness, love—everything we think and do, even the pursuit of treasures on earth, is firmly planted on Jesus’ Way: not the way to heaven, but the experience of heaven itself.