DON’T WORRY… YOU CAN’T SERVE TWO MASTERS

Matthew 6:19 -34 falls within chapters 5 through 7 where we find Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. In this, Jesus' first proclamation he, the Messianic King, sets out in very plain detail, the principles, standards and requirements of the kingdom which he is inaugurating. It is a sermon which emphasizes both the doctrinal as well as the practical implications of citizenship in Jesus' kingdom. The first 18 verses of Mt 6 focus on the piety that is required of a disciple and the last 16, vv.19-34, emphasize the trust that a Christian must place in God the Father.


This trust is set in contrast against anxiety and worry. In unmistakable terms and with forthright clarity, Jesus denounces anxiety concerning the needs of life such as food, drink and clothing, and even life itself, as sinful and senseless. Believers should not be accumulating worldly wealth because these are subject to corruption, ruin and robbery. Besides, they are temporary and transient and therefore cannot provide lasting satisfaction. Instead, the Christian is to deposit his interests and efforts, that is to say, his whole life, in heavenly treasures that are indestructible and that are of eternal and limitless value. The crux of the entire matter is simply this: where our treasure is, there also your heart will be, v. 21.


This is a very crucial principle for us today, not only in light of the prevalence and popularity of the wicked prosperity teaching but also because many of us try to deceive ourselves by making such inane statements as "the Lord doesn't mind if we have nice things." Among many other thoughts underlying this statement is the belief that it is acceptable, admirable and perhaps even advisable, for Christians to accumulate wealth on this earth …. as long as this treasure does not become an idol. However, Scripture leads us in an opposite direction by providing us with many warnings against the dangers of [the hoarding of] wealth:


Ps 39:6 .. man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!


Pro 23:4 Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist.


In Mt 13:22, Jesus explains one aspect of his Parable of the Sower thus:


"As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful."


Jesus summarizes the Parable of the Rich Young Man by warning:


Mt 19:23 ".. Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.


Lk 12:16-21, Jesus’ Parable of the Rich Fool, in which he alerts us to the foolishness of depending on wealth, is an expansion of Pro 11:4, Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.


                    The apostle Paul explicitly admonishes us against seeking wealth:


1 Tim 6:9-10 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.


            Lastly, Scripture cites contentment, not poverty, as the antidote against wealth:


Heb 13:5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."



Scripture consistently teaches us of the inherent danger in seeking earthly wealth. It is concerned with the location of our heart. Is it anchored on earth as we try to grab hold of jewels and Jesus at the same time, or is it riveted to Christ in heaven where we are also because of our union with him? "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." Col 3:1-3. Ultimately, our treasure is Jesus Christ himself “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." 2:3. Note how the apostle Paul swiftly underscores the weight of this assertion in the next v., "I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments." How very fitting for us today! How very necessary for us today! To believe that we can be faithful to Christ at the same time that we are piling up this world's goods is to have a dark light within us, a light that flows through and corrupts the whole body, a light that is evil and that causes us to have a warped, distorted, deceived view of life, Mt 6:22-23.


We are to have a clear perspective regarding life, not only the character of our earthly existence and our purpose in it but also, regarding the meaning of eternal life that was given to us freely by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone [the very Lord of life], who emphasizes that those possessing this life are citizens of the eschatological kingdom which has broken into this age with his first advent and with his sending of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost. In him alone we are to place our trust. Where is our heart? Is our cry “in God we trust” or is it “in gold we trust”? We cannot serve God and mammon.


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