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.
In this, as in all other areas of the Christian life, the true solution does not lie in abstinence or withdrawal. It lies in the proper use and the proper estimate of the things that God has provided. In other words, we are not called upon to relinquish things but rather to use them under God’s direction for the health and well-being of ourselves and our family, for material aid to others, and for the great task of proclaiming the Gospel and promoting Christian verities.
In yesterday’s study we said that it is not a requirement that Christians give up their possessions; rather, we are to use them for the benefit of others and for the advancement of the Gospel. This is precisely what Jesus himself was teaching in the verses concerned with money and possessions from the Sermon on the Mount. For Jesus was not speaking against possessions. He was speaking against a ruinous preoccupation with them. He said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:19-21).
The third reason Jesus Christ warns His followers about an improper concern for possessions occurs in verses 22 and 23. It has to do with our spiritual vision. Jesus said, “The lamp of the body is the eye; if, therefore, thine eye be healthy, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If, therefore, the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!”
The final verse of our section deals with the mutually exclusive nature of serving God and riches. “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Nothing could be said more clearly, or be more obvious. And it should be a heart-searching question for us all. Could anything be more insulting to God, who has redeemed us from the slavery of sin in Christ and has given us all things richly to enjoy, than to take the name of our God upon us, to be called by His name, and then to demonstrate by every action and every decision of life that we actually serve money?
Canadian Committee of The Bible Study Hour
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