Why is the kingdom of heaven so incredibly valuable? In this passage, Jesus gives one of many important reasons: We cannot keep the treasures of this earth, and we cannot lose the treasures in heaven.
The entire Sermon on the Mount has been about one topic: Who will be accepted by God and receive a place in His kingdom?
- Matthew 5:1-16: Jesus tells us those with saving faith are blessed who will receive a place in the kingdom (the Beatitudes).
- Matthew 5:17-48: Jesus says your righteousness must be different than the kind the Pharisees have to enter the kingdom of heaven (the Antitheses).
- Matthew 6:1-7:11: Using several examples, Jesus warns his listeners to avoid the self-deception of the Pharisees.
- Matthew 7:12-29: Jesus concludes there are 2 paths. One path leads to life and the other to destruction. You must be the type of person described in the Sermon to be on the right path.
In this third section Jesus challenges those who are worldly. Worldliness is not being too materialistic. Worldliness is being too concerned with the things of this world. The hypocrites look for the rewards of this world, rather than what God has promised in heaven.
Treasures on earth vs. treasures in heaven
19Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:19-21
- Our “treasure” is everything we cling to and count on to bring goodness to our lives. This includes everything from financial security to self-satisfaction to relationships to peer approval.
- If seek a treasure you cannot keep, your choice is foolish.
- Moths, rust and thieves represent the fundamental problem with the treasures of this world: you can’t keep them.
- To store up treasure in heaven doesn’t mean we put treasure in heavenly bank account when we get when we die.
- Rather we fix our hope on and make our goal the things God has promised in the future concerning His Messiah and the establishment of His kingdom.
- This is a treasure we cannot lose.
- To give your heart to God includes believing that His treasure is better than this world’s treasure.
Eye as the lamp of the Body
22The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23but 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! – Matthew 6:22-23
- Your eye is like a lamp because your is the eye is the part of your body that brings the light to you so that you can see.
- Light is a metaphor for knowledge or understanding. Light is meant to bring me information and give understanding of the world.
- Metaphorically, when you don’t understand what you’re looking at even though your eyes are open, you are still in the dark. You think you are seeing, but in fact you’re blind.
- The physically blind person knows he/she cannot see. But fools say, ‘I can see clearly,’ when in reality, they don’t doesn’t understand what they see.
- It’s sad to be blind. It is infinitely worse to be blind, but think that you see perfectly.
- Compare with Isaiah 6:8-10; Proverbs 28:22; John 9:39-41.
Serving two masters
24No 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. – Matthew 6:24
- Servants who thwart their masters’ will receive punishment. Servants who do their masters’ will receive good treatment.
- In this world, if you want to be blessed by wealth, you have to play by its “rules.” Wealth takes time; wealth requires sacrifices to climb the corporate ladder; wealth requires kissing up to the right bosses and back stabbing others, etc.
- God also has “rules” like love your neighbor as yourself.
- You can’t serve two masters because eventually you’ll face a conflict of interest. Eventually you will have to harm (hate) one of them and help (love) the other.
- Inevitably, sooner or later, there will be a conflict of interest between gathering wealth and serving God.
- There is nothing wrong with working for a living. Rather sooner or later you’ll face a choice about how you will relate to the riches of this world.
You can’t keep the treasures of this world and they won’t solve your problem. You can keep the treasures of heaven and they will solve your biggest problem. When you have the eyes to see, that’s an easy choice to make.