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33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

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Jesus and Security


The passage:  Matthew 6: 19-34


This is one of Jesus' more challenging passages. He is speaking about money, and urging his listeners not to invest their hearts in riches.  He does not say that financial investments are bad in themselves, but that the only truly enduring treasure is an investment in the Kingdom of God, and the things of this world must never be chosen over and above the things of heaven.  The question, he emphasises, is "Where is your heart found?"  This is a question we can ask of ourselves in many different ways.  "Where is my heart?"  "Where is my undivided, focused attention directed?"  What is that 'one thing' that if I received it, would give me the greatest joy?  Is it Jesus?

Next Jesus speaks about the eye, and points out that it makes a difference how we see things.  If we can see clearly, and look upon things of light, our whole lives are full of light.  This resonates with us here in Melbourne at the moment, as the days are just beginning to get noticeably longer, day by day, as spring approaches. 

Then Jesus compares our relationship with money to a master-slave relationship.  Is money your master?  You cannot serve two masters.  I believe this comment was based in real-life experience, which taught people that when a slave has two masters, they are in a miserable state, because they cannot please either one, and they get torn between two sources of authority. Do not let money rule you, Jesus says.

Finally there comes the longer passage on worry.  Mark Twain once said that worry was one of his most productive activities, because 99% of the things he worried about never happened!  But seriously, what causes you to worry?  Is it material things?  In one of Jesus' most incredible and deeply challenging statements, he calls his followers to trust God completely for the most basic necessities in their lives:  food, drink, and clothes.  This call to utter dependence is echoed in the Lord's prayer 'Give us today our daily bread.'  Trust in God's provision is something which is at the heart of Christian discipleship.   The key, Jesus emphasises, is to make the Kingdom of God our 'main thing':  "strive first for the Kingdom of God and his righteousness".  Would you dare to make this your first and foremost goal, and to live it out?  Would you dare to ask God to school your soul to walk this talk?  That there would be an end to worry, and a pure passion to guide our lives.


Questions

  1. If you found a treasure chest while walking along a lonely beach, what would you hope to find inside?
  2. In your experience of people, how is success generally measured?  How do you feel pressure to meet this standard?
  3. What alternatives does Jesus propose with respect to treasures (vv. 19-21), desires (vv.22-23) and masters (v.24). 
  4. If Jesus were to look into your eyes, and analyse your life, what would he say your treasure is?
  5. According to Jesus, what results from seeking the Kingdom first? 
  6. How do we, in practice, seek the Kingdom of God?
  7. Consider carefully this past week.  Have you made most deposits into the Bank of Heaven or the Bank of Earth?
  8. What causes you the most worry?  What is God saying to you through this passage about how you handle your worries?  Could there be a better way for you in managing this?

                                                                                                                                                         

Matthew 6: 19-34

 

Concerning Treasures

19 â€œDo not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The Sound Eye

22 â€œThe eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; 23 but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

Serving Two Masters

24 â€œNo one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

Do Not Worry

25 â€œTherefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

34 â€œSo do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

 

Copyright © 2015 Mark Durie, All rights reserved.


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