Reading Assignment: Matthew 6:19-34
Did you understand what you read?
- How do you lay up treasures in heaven?
- How can your eye be good or bad? (Hint: we are not talking about a physical disease.)
- What are the two masters you cannot serve at the same time?
- Why shouldn't we worry?
- How can we seek the kingdom of God first?
It is foolish to work through life trying to gain wealth on this earth. Anything that we gain will not be permanent. Riches are uncertain; they have a tendency to disappear (Proverbs 23:4-5). Wealth also brings problems to a person (Ecclesiastes 5:10-16). Increased income brings increased expenses and increased worries. Since this life is temporary, physical wealth is temporary as well because you can't take it with you.
Instead of looking to gain temporary possessions we should lay up permanent spiritual wealth. We need to do as Jesus suggested in Matthew 19:16-22. We should do God's will and not place importance on our possessions.
Verses 22 and 23 in Matthew 6 can be confusing. Luke 11:34-36 contains a parallel account of this teaching. Jesus is discussing the overall direction of our life. If we keep striving for righteousness (the light) then we will become more and more righteous. Even if we are not very good right now, we can become better if we strive to be righteous. However, if we keep sin in front of us (the darkness), then we will be lead to commit more and more sin. You can't be continually tempted without eventually succumbing to sin. Paul warns us in I Thessalonians 5:21-22 to avoid evil and to pursue righteousness. John tells us, in I John 3:2-9, that our goal in life defines whose child we are. A person striving to follow God is a child of God. He may sin, but he will not remain in a sinful state. He will do something about the sin. A child of Satan will remain in his sins. He may do something righteous at times, but he will not remain in that state. He is always slipping back into his sinful habits.
We can't have it both ways. You can't say I'll follow God, but I'll have a little "fun" along the way. Trying to permit a little sin in our life just opens up the flood gates allowing Satan to overwhelm us. Either we serve God or we serve Satan. In Matthew 6:24, Satan is represented by mammon, or riches. The pursuit of wealth is the most common temptation that Satan uses to lead us away from God (I Timothy 6:7-11).
Don't we need some wealth in this world? After all we need to feed and clothe ourselves. Without some wealth, how can we put a roof over our heads? What we don't understand is that God is watching over us. The flowers of the field and the birds of the air don't consume their lives with the pursuit of wealth and yet they are well cared for. Gaining money should not be a goal in a Christian's life. Having money is not a sin, but striving to accumulate wealth can lead us into sin. We need to learn to depend on God. If we put God first in our lives all our problems will eventually work themselves out.
- Find additional passages that explain why we should not worry.
- Use your Bible to prove that it is not wrong for a Christian to be wealthy.
- If a Christian is wealthy, what should he do with his money?