Matthew 6:19-24 Reading

Matthew 6:19-24

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

A few thoughts for meditation:

In this next section on the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus turned his attention to perhaps the most common idol of humanity, wealth. First, he called disciples to make a new investment decision, to store up treasures in heaven, rather than on earth. Earthly treasures will perish for one reason or another. And even if you succeed in gathering all the treasures you want in this life, you will leave them behind at death, and they will be dispersed to others. Better instead to store up treasures in heaven. This builds on what Jesus said earlier about “rewards” for sincere worship. You store up heavenly treasure by investing your time and energy in what has eternal significance before God; a life of obedience and good works, suffering for Christ’s name, working toward forgiveness and reconciliation, etc. You strive to make your own contribution in serving the kingdom of God with the gifts and opportunities that Christ has invested in you. You strive to be the faithful husband, wife, parent, worker, church member, and neighbor that God calls you to be, trusting that whatever hardships you endure will be far surpassed by the joys of being with God and his people in the end.

Jesus then singled out the heart behind the pursuit of wealth or God. You will pursue what you treasure most. “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” What you value most is the true object of worship in your heart, no matter what you say with your words. We saw before how Jesus confronted the “hypocrites” about their false worship. They claimed to worship God but really were worshiping the praise of men. Here, Jesus made a similar point. You may claim to worship the Lord and even publicly give thanks to him for all the wealth you have, but if you are living for your wealth, that is your true god and master, not the Lord. Jesus then explained the implications when you try to divide your loyalty between God and money. It’s like trying to put one eye on God and one eye on money. It divides your vision and basically makes you blind. Rather than having “good eyes” focused singularly on the Lord, your eyes are dysfunctional, causing blindness and darkness within. Your love of money is going to hinder your professed love to the Lord. For example, you will be selfish and stingy when you should be generous and compassionate. Or you will be reluctant to give up earthly wealth for the kingdom because you trust it too much to give you comfort and security rather than God.

Jesus then finished the point moving from the pictures of treasure and vision to slavery. You cannot serve two masters, money and God. The tension creates problems in your heart. They offer different wages and require different standards of faithfulness that conflict with each other. For example, if you are serving money, then you will be tempted to work on the Lord’ Day unnecessarily and compromise your obligations to the Lord in order to make that extra effort for more money. You will despise the Lord for getting in the way of your pursuit of money. Or the opposite can be true; you will hate your money-making venture for getting in the way of your worship of God. You can’t love and serve both. One must be subservient to the other. Your money must serve God or your will try to make God serve your pursuit of money. It’s important to note that Jesus portrayed both here as slave-masters, not just employers. You are in slavery to one or the other, whether you like it or not. If you love money, then you are a slave to money. If you love the Lord, you are a slave to him instead. Paul used the same picture in Rom 6:19; slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness. There is no middle ground. You cannot serve both with the singular whole-hearted devotion that each requires.

So, who do you love more? Jesus or money? Who do you trust to meet your needs? Who do you trust to keep you secure when trouble comes? When making career choices, what pursuit drive you more? What treasures are truly more important, the earthly or the heavenly? Which master truly loves you?