Listen: Matthew 6:19-21: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
针对这几节经文，作家Michael Dunn 曾这样说：“如果我们开始把耶稣没有禁止的事列出来的话可能会大有帮助。首先，耶稣没有禁止我们积攒财富。其次，耶稣没有禁止我们‘未雨绸缪’。圣经夸赞蚂蚁在夏天储存食物以备冬日之需，并宣称一个不供养自己家庭的信徒还不如一个非信徒。第三，我们不应该厌弃美好的事物，而是应该享受造物主丰丰富富赐予我们的一切美好的事物。耶稣禁止的是门徒们出于私心积攒财富，过奢侈浪费的生活，对世上穷苦之人的基本需求熟视无睹/铁石心肠，愚蠢地幻想一个人的生命在于他所拥有的财富，以及把我们的心捆绑在地上的物质主义。我们的财宝在哪里，我们的心就在那里。换句话说，这里的积攒财富在地上不是不让我们为将来做合理的筹备，而是不让我们贪婪。
Author Michael Dunn says this about these verses. “It may help if we begin by listing what Jesus was not forbidding. First, there is no ban on possessions in themselves. Secondly, ‘saving for a rainy day’ is not forbidden. Scripture praises the ant for storing in the summer the food it will need in the winter, and declares that the believer who makes no provision for his family is worse than an unbeliever. Thirdly, we are not to despise, but rather to enjoy, the good things which our Creator has given us richly to enjoy.
What Jesus forbids His followers is the selfish accumulation of goods; extravagant and luxurious living; the hard-heartedness which does not feel the colossal need of the world’s underprivileged people; the foolish fantasy that a person’s life consists in the abundance of his possessions; and the materialism which tethers our hearts to the earth. Our heart always follows our treasure. In a word to lay up treasure on earth does not mean being provident (making sensible provision for the future) but being covetous.
To lay up treasure in heaven is to do anything on earth whose effects last for eternity. It seems that Jesus was referring to such things as these: the development of Christlike character; the increase of faith, hope and charity, all of which abide; growth in the knowledge of Christ whom one day we shall see face to face; the active endeavor (by prayer and witness) to introduce others to Christ, so that they too may inherit eternal life; and the use of our money for Christian causes, which is the only investment whose dividends are everlasting. All these are temporal activities with eternal consequences.”
Remember that God’s bank in heaven is the only bank that is fully insured. Your real treasures are hidden with Christ in God.
Prayer: Father, I thank you for all the material blessings you have given me. Let me always remember that they come to me only by your grace, because I surely have not deserved them. Keep my heart focused on you alone and not on any earthly treasure. Remind me that what is of this world will always fade and disappear. What I have in heaven will never be taken from me. I ask this for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Listen: Matthew 6:22-24: 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Have you ever noticed at the check out line in the grocery store that the candies are down low so that they are eye-level for the children? As wait in line to be checked out, the children are looking at the candies. Pretty soon they start asking and begging and crying because you won’t let them have some candy. Everyone is staring at you. Who is this mean parent who won’t buy their children candy?
That may look harmless, but it is not so harmless at all. If you give in to your children’s desires to have whatever they see and want, you are training them that they can have whatever they see and want. And to be truthful, is it any different for us as adults? What does the store place at the level of our eyes so that we can see and want? Jesus is showing us in this sermon that it is not only a sin to take what doesn’t belong to us. It is a sin even to want what we don’t need or shouldn’t have. The ninth and tenth commandments call that coveting.
He also points out that the last commands and the first commandment are tied together. Either we will love our money and the stuff that it can buy or we will love God. You will be devoted to the one and despise the other. How do we do that? How do we learn to despise our stuff in our world and love God the most? It’s not so much training our hearts to despise the materials things in this world as it is to learn how to love God more. Spend more time at the foot of the cross. Wake up in the morning with and prayerfully think about your Savior. Go to bed at night the same way. You will learn how to love THE ONE and despise the other.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, there is nothing in this world that means more to me than you. Nothing in this world can fill the longings of my heart or give my despairing heart hope more than you. You are my Portion and my Strength forever! Teach me eyes to focus on you so that the material things of this world will always only be a blur. I ask this in your name. Amen.