After the great teachings in the first half of Matthew 6 about the spiritual life of the Christian, the Lord Jesus Christ turned to warnings about the personal failures that most often deprive a believer of spiritual victories and nullify his witness. In these verses (Matthew 6:19-7:5), Jesus warns against a love of possessions, anxiety, and a judgmental attitude toward others.
It is not really difficult to find examples of those who have allowed the love of money to ruin their spirituality and to nullify the effect of their witness. For history is full of such examples, and they come from our time also. In the book of Joshua, we are told of the sin of Achan that caused the defeat of the armies of Israel at Ai. Israel had just been victorious at Jericho and had dedicated the spoil of the battle to God as God had intended. But there was a scar on the victory. During the battle, Achan had come upon a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred pieces of silver, and an ingot of gold. Because he coveted them, he hid them in his tent. It was a small thing, but it was disobedience to God. Thus, Israel was defeated in their next engagement, and judgment came upon Achan and his household.
Solomon allowed the love of money and women to ruin his spiritual life. Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Lord about money, pretending that they had given the full price of a sale to the church while actually keeping back a portion. As a result, they were struck dead. Paul wrote in one of his letters about a young man named Demas who, he said, “hath forsaken me having loved this present world.” Besides these, there have been countless others. We see the same things today when people will put their home and the care of it above the need for biblical teaching and thus will mow the grass on Sunday when they should be at church; or when others will direct all their efforts toward amassing a fortune (or part of one) while neglecting their families and the essential, spiritual life of their home. No wonder then that Paul wrote to Timothy to remind him that “the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Tim. 6:10).
It is important to note before we go on to Christ’s teaching that the Bible nowhere teaches that money itself is evil, or that things in themselves produce it. It is not things that are at fault; it is the men who use them. Before God created men and women he created a vast world of pleasant and useful things for them. They were meant for man’s use in every joyful and constructive way. But when man sinned, the things that were to be helpful to him then came to usurp a place in his heart that they were never meant to have. Men began to fight and steal and cheat and do countless other things to possess them. Today, when a man surrenders to God and allows Him to redirect his life, a process begins in which money and things may be removed from the center, and God once again be reinstated on the throne.