In Christ’s day, the Jewish philosophy was that those who are rich are those whom God loves. In Deuteronomy 28, in the Old Testament, God promised to bless the Jews materially if they were obedient to His Word; and He also told them there would be discipline and poverty if they disobeyed. Based on this instruction, the Jews thought that riches were a sign of God’s blessing. During His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus took some time to set the record straight. Jesus started by making the point that material wealth is only temporary.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19 (NIV)
The love we have for family and friends is far more valuable than any amount of material wealth. The reward we receive in personal satisfaction when we are able to help those in need is something that can’t be purchased. Bank accounts have no value to God. Loving service to others is the currency of our Lord.
“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:20-21 (NIV)
Jesus wanted us to understand that material wealth has a way of clouding our perspective. When we spend time collecting material objects our vision is dimmed and it becomes hard to see what God truly desires for our life.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. “ Matthew 6:22-23 (NIV)
If a bigger house, a new car, and a larger bank account is all we can see, we will be completely disconnected from God. In one of the most often repeated statements of Jesus, He makes clear that we have to make a choice between serving God and serving wealth.
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24 (NIV)
Our most precious treasure is that which has been generated by a heart focused on serving God by serving others. There isn’t any amount of material gain that can compare with the gift of eternal life bestowed on us by God. When we leave this life behind and join Jesus in all eternity, we will also leave behind every one of our material possessions. What we will be taking with us into eternity is the reward for the blessings we have shared with others in this life.
Answer each question as though you were speaking privately to Jesus. Don’t just answer yes or no, explain your answer completely to yourself and to the Lord.
How do you determine your own wealth?
What is your most precious possession?
Is your material bank account larger than your spiritual bank account?
What do you desire most in life?
Are you serving God or money?
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