Matthewby Mike Raiter
Jesus has just taught us to pray: ″Give us today our daily bread″ (v. 11). In other words, ″Lord, help us to be content with what we need for today and not worry about tomorrow.″ He now goes into more detail.
He begins by warning us against the fatal attraction of riches, using three illustrations about two treasures (vv. 19-20), two visions (vv. 21-23), and two masters (v. 24).
Since all earthly things wear out, logically we should invest in what will last: treasures in heaven (vv. 19-20). Jesus has spent the last chapter and half of chapter 6 describing this heavenly treasure: living a life of true righteousness (see Matthew 6:33).With the next metaphor (vv. 21-23), Jesus is saying that if you want an insight into a person's heart, there is no better guide than their attitude towards their possessions. As the eye is the lamp of the body, our attitude to wealth is the barometer of our heart. Just as we saw with performing our righteousness in public, this is one area where we can often fool others, but not God. I can live a materialistic life of stinginess and few would ever know. But God does.
The last picture (v. 24) packs the biggest punch of all. In the end, the choice is black and white: God or possessions. Jesus portrays money as a master with complete control over a person. That is why money is so deceptively powerful, because while people think they are using their money, the reality is that it is using them. This is easy to prove: if I am the master and money is my servant, then I can give it away, but if money is the master, then I cannot. A rich ruler will face this situation later in the gospel (Matthew 19:16).
Instead of trusting what will not last, we can trust our Father, not because He will make our life trouble-free, but because He knows our needs (v. 32). It is not wrong to save and invest, but the first priority is to hunger and thirst for righteousness, which is to desire personal holiness in God's sight (Matthew 5:6). This is the point Jesus has been making all along: focus on a life pleasing to Him, and the rest will fall into place (v. 33).
Why do we find it so hard to be generous? What strategies can you put into place to ensure that money doesn't control your life?
Why do we find it so hard to trust God for our material needs? What point is Jesus making in pointing us to the birds and the flowers (vv. 26, 28)?