|Matthew 6:19-34||Read Online|
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
When you hear the word “treasure,” what first comes to mind? A pirate’s chest filled with doubloons and rare jewels, buried for years under a gnarled and forgotten tree? Old Ebenezer Scrooge in his gloomy chamber, wearily counting and recounting his piles of gold coins?
In today’s reading, Jesus identifies a number of different treasures. He speaks first of things that moths eat, rust destroys, and thieves steal—essentially everything people owned in those days.
Clothes were made of sheep or goat’s wool, a perfect feast for moths. Rust could put at risk farm tools, cooking utensils, weapons, and other vital possessions. And of course, anything else of value would be something a thief might steal.
Another treasure is something He calls “mammon.” While in one sense mammon is represented by money, in the broader sense it means everything money can buy—everything the world says is important. Jesus implies that we’re all slaves to mammon, unless by His grace we’ve now become slaves to God.
A third group of treasures are those things that meet our daily personal needs. Without food, drink, and clothing to keep us warm, we couldn’t live.
Finally, a fourth thing we treasure (verse 34) is our sense of control over our lives. All of us spend a certain amount of mental energy—sometimes a lot of mental energy—contemplating our future and how we might prepare for it.
It’s interesting to notice that Jesus does not say, “Where your heart is, there your treasure will be also.” We tend to think we rule our own hearts, that we can choose to love and be loyal to someone just because we know we’re supposed to. We say we love our spouses, children, friends—and especially God—because we really want to believe we do.
But our treasures give us away. Those things we give value to speak candidly of the actual object of our affections—and all too often it’s ourselves. We surround ourselves with the things that will keep us safe, give us comfort, entertain us, make us feel important, guard our future. Only after our needs and wants are met do we consider the needs of others—or the requirements of God.
What Jesus taught the crowd gathered on that Galilean hillside was that God desires a radically different kind of life. We’re to seek first those things that please and benefit God: His kingdom and righteousness. This takes place in the tangible, everyday decisions we make: what we do with the hours in our day, what we choose to think about, and what we spend our money on.
Luke records it this way: “Be rich toward God” (Luke 12:21). When His priorities become what we treasure most of all, then our hearts will inevitably follow. Our love, loyalty, and enthusiasm will be directed toward Him, and He’ll gain the great joy of giving His far better treasures to us in return.
- Our culture teaches us that we can be independent, masters of our own destiny. But in verse 24, Jesus says we’re slaves, not masters. We either love and are committed to God OR we love and are committed to that which the world says is important. If you are totally honest, what pulls on your heart most strongly? In what areas of your life do you need to change masters?
- List some specific things that:
- Keep you safe
- Give you comfort
- Entertain you
- Make you feel important
- Guard your future
- In what ways can you more fully release these needs into God’s hands, freeing you to devote your time and attention and resources to seeking His Kingdom and His righteousness?
- In verses 22-23 Jesus says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” This is another unexpected reversal. We would think that if the body is full of light, then the eye would be good. But once again it’s a matter of our personal priorities and choices. We have a lot to say about what enters our minds through our eyes and our ears. What things do you look at or listen to that bring God’s light into your body, and what things bring darkness?