Matthew 6: 19-24
I want to begin with a simple little exercise…you don’t have to answer out loud…
- Which one is your choice: Dish or Direct TV? (Why did you make that choice?)
- Red, Orange or blue…or from left to right door 1, 2, or 3? (Hard to know which one isn’t it?)
- This one is tough! (How do you make the right choice? It would be nice to have someone tell you, “This is the right one…and the best choice!)
- It is not always easy to make the right choice…but in this passage Jesus makes it easy…IF we will listen to Him.
Look at the passage that was read again…in vs. 19 and 20 there are two choices: treasures on earth and treasures in heaven.
- In vs. 22-23 there are two choices: a clear or sound eye and a bad eye.
- In vs. 24 there are two choices: God and mammon.
- And in vs. 25-34 there are two choices: our body and God’s kingdom.
- These are difficult choices because worldly ambition and the spell of materialism has a pretty strong pull on us. When you see some of the things that people have and the pleasures and comforts that they enjoy…that looks like the way to go.
- But when it comes to “treasures in heaven” you can’t see them.
- So, this is kind of difficult…how do you know which ones to go with?
Well, we don’t have to wonder because Jesus tells us what to choose. Look at vs. 19 and 20 again. Jesus says: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth,
- Because “moths and rust destroy them…and thieves break in and steal them.”
- Jesus mentions “moths” – in Jesus’ day people considered their fine clothing to be one of their treasures…just like some people do today. Over time what happens to that fine clothing. (ripped some of that fine clothing)
- “Rust”- literally means “an eating away” and could refer to corrosion or it could also be referring to any devouring pest or vermin. (rats, mice, ants, worms, etc.) Book-the only survivor of the whole set. (Termites).
- And in Jesus’ day houses were made out of mud and clay and it was easy for a thief to break in and steal anything valuable. (And when it comes to houses and how easy they can be gone…ask people in Moore, Okla. Or in West, Texas).
- And what Jesus is saying here is “treasures here on earth”…the material things we value…are corruptible, they are temporary and there is no lasting security in them.
- Many years ago I graduated from high school…do you know where all those graduation gifts I received are? (Broke, worn out, rusted, thrown out, out dated, stolen, gone, or lost)
- And the first car I ever owned that I was so proud of…worn out…fell apart.
- And some of the really neat clothes I had…
- Jesus says, “Don’t put your security…your future…your happiness and contentment in those things…don’t fool yourself into believing that life consists in the abundance of your possession…because the things you have are only temporary.”
But look at the other choice…the other option: “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…”
- Why? “Because neither moth, nor rust destroys, and neither do thieves break in and steal.”
- There is no guess work here…there is no wondering about making the right choice.
- Sure you can see the material things and they look so good and pleasurable…especially since you can’t see the “heavenly things”.
- Jesus tells us that the material things will disappear….but the treasures laid up in heaven will last forever and ever with no depreciation or deterioration.
Now, when Jesus speaks of “treasures in heaven” what is He talking about?
- Simply put it is to do anything in this life that someday will result in the reward of heaven.
- Things such as developing a Christ-like character; increasing in faith, hope and charity.
- Grow in the knowledge of Christ; endeavor to bring others to Christ; use our money and possessions for Christian causes; show compassion, love, patience, understanding and so on.
- It is obeying God.
- All of these are temporal activities with an eternal reward in heaven.
- No burglar can steal it…no worm or rat can destroy it…there are no moths, or mice to eat it…it cannot corrode.
- They are indestructible and Jesus seems to be saying to us, “These things are a safe investment…they are safe and secure.”
- And what Jesus says in verse 21 is “let your heart desire those treasures that lead to heaven.”
Now look at the second set of choices found in verses 22-23: a clear (or sound eye) or a bad eye.
- And again this is a difficult choice because when you look at those who have a “bad eye” they seem to have all of these possessions…and all of these different kinds of pleasures.
- But what do people with a “clear eye” have?
Well look at what Jesus says. Jesus says, “If your eye is clear…if your eye is focused on Christ…if your eye is focused on heaven…then your whole body will be full of light!”
- You will be filled with hope, and joy, and peace, and love, and faith, kindness, and compassion…free from worry, and greed, and immorality, and wickedness.
- Your whole body will be “full of light.”
“But if your eye is bad…if your eye focusses on the things of this world…the wicked pleasures of this world…the values and ideas of this world…your bad eye will plunge you into a darkness that Jesus says “is great!”
- It is a darkness where there is no hope, no joy, no peace, no love, or kindness, or compassion.
- It is a darkness of misery, pain, depression, hopelessness, and destruction.
You do not have to wonder about which one to choose…or which one is best…Jesus tells us…the only question is “will you listen to Him?”
Look at the next two choices found in verse 24: God or mammon.
- There are only two possibilities…it is one or the other…it is impossible to serve both.
- And when the choice is seen for what it is…a choice between the Creator and the created, between the personal, glorious, living God and a miserable thing called money….between worship and idolatry…it seems inconceivable that anyone would make the wrong choice.
- Serving one will give you eternal life….serving the other will make your miserable for life.
Now, look at verses 25-34. It is a shame that this passage is so often separated from the previous verses.
- Look at how it begins: “For this reason I say to you…”; the NIV says, “Therefore…”
- What Jesus says here in verses 25-34 relates back to what He has just taught us in verses 19-24.
- And what we have decided to do in verses 19-24 will determine what we will choose to do in verses 25-34.
In other words, what did Jesus tell us to do in verse 20: “Lay up your treasures in heaven.”
- Do those things that will result in the reward of heaven.
What does He tell us to do in verse 22: “Have a clear eye”…focus on Christ…focus on heaven.”
And what does He tell us to do in verse 24: “Serve God.”
- Now if we have done those things…what are we going to choose to do in verse 33? (Seek first the kingdom of God.)
- What is it in verse 25 are we not going to do? (Be anxious for our life…what we are going to eat, drink, or what we will wear.”
- If we are “laying up or treasures in heaven, if we have a clear eye (focusing on Christ), if we are serving God we are not going to become engrossed in the cares of this world…instead we will seek His Kingdom and His righteousness…”
- And look at what Jesus promises in verse 33: “and all of these things shall be added or provided to you.” (not just food, drink, shelter, and clothing…but also the security, the peace, the joy that comes with having these things).
But if we choose to lay up our treasures here on earth, if we choose to have a bad eye, if we choose to serve mammon instead of God…then what are we going to do in verse 25: Be anxious…worry…worry about life…worry about what you are going to eat…worry about what you are going to drink…worry about what you will wear…
- Five times in this passage Jesus speaks of worry…that is all you will do…is worry, worry, worry, and worry.
- And if you look at verse 32, when you worry about these things you are doing just what the Gentiles…or the unfaithful are doing.
- And the sad thing…when you choose to worry about all these things…the indication is from verse 33…you will never be satisfied.
So, which will you choose: to lay up treasures here on earth….or to lay up treasures in heaven?
- To have a clear eye….or a bad eye.
- To serve God…or mammon?
- To seek first the kingdom of God and find peace, contentment, security and joy….or constantly worry, be miserable, and never satisfied.
- Unlike many choices in life where it is hard to know what to do…where these is no one to tell you which is best…Jesus makes the choices here clear…I hope that we each one will listen to Him.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023