Chapter 6:19-34 (ESV) - “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 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? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Question to consider: What did Jesus mean that the ‘eye is the lamp of the body’ in this sermon?
After making an obvious reference to the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees who made every effort to do their righteous acts to impress people rather than worship God, Jesus opened up the wider problem behind their efforts which condemns everyone: idolatry. The religious leaders practiced their righteousness before men to receive accolades and gifts of which they believed they were worthy to receive.
The same spirit can be found in us all if we are bent on accumulating treasures here on earth. Jesus asked all of the listeners (and even us readers) to examine how we spend our time and efforts. Are they for things that have no eternal value? Are we accumulating treasures for our own sense of entitlement?
Jesus’ comment about the eye being a lamp for the body is usually taken out of context to convict people for what they watch on television. I’m not saying we shouldn’t monitor our consumption of media, but this particular statement from Jesus referred to the “eye” we use to view our own righteous standing before God. We should be able to examine our attitudes, efforts, and treasures to see who is our master: God or money.
You don’t even have to be rich to fail in this area. When we are anxious about our daily bread to the point where we hoard and are not generous toward God or our neighbor, Jesus compares us to the Gentiles - people who don’t really know God or His ability to care for us. Our daily bread is something Jesus told us to leave in the hands of God when we pray. Imagine what kind of impact Christians could have in the world if our primary focus was to be an instrument of God’s kingdom and will in the world?
I don’t write these things to guilt you into giving or doing more but to examine yourself to understand whom you serve. This entire sermon from Jesus was to demonstrate that none of us are righteous enough to earn our citizenship in His kingdom. He paid for our citizenship by taking upon Himself the cup of wrath meant for us. Our citizenship is something we receive in faith by the mercy and grace of God.
Dear heavenly father, please continue to give us a new heart in Christ that sees the love and grace You have lavished upon us. May we joyfully serve You and our neighbor so that they may praise You when Christ returns. Amen.