19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
23 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!
24 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. – Matthew 6:19-24
How literally should we take this passage? Is there ever a time to buildup riches in this world? Will we always reject Christ in doing so? There is a time for all things, as the scriptures state elsewhere. We have to provide for people who depend on us, for example.
However, the pursuit of earthly riches can be consuming for many of us. If we are consumed with the things of this life and we don’t have time for God, then it does not matter how much we gain because we will lose it all in the end. That is an evil eye. Evil is the loss of some good. When the things we look to are things that will only pass away, then all that we do is in vain. There is no real good or gain. Only the illusion of good and gain.
As Jesus states in another parable, “the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches” can choke the word of God from our hearts. Worldly riches are a kind of deception. Especially when pursued in the place of riches in the Kingdom of Heaven because one is passing away and the other is eternal.
If our eyes are on the things of the Kingdom of God, then everything that we setout to do will be profitable in that which his everlasting. Light and life are symbols that go together, as are darkness and death.
We can focus on things that bring life and things that will remain forever or we can focus on things that seem good for a time but only fade into nothingness in the end. We can’t really do both. Not well. One always wins out, and this is a hard thing for people who have a lot of cares in this life. The Lord knows and He makes a way, but it’s not always easy. Good things are usually difficult. “To him that is given much, much is required.”
In any case, all things done to the glory of God and for His purposes are profitable. Some have wealth in this world because God is using this for the good of others or to glorify Himself in some way. How much is too much? To each his and her own conscience. It seems like this depends on what we are given to do.
However, it is good for us to be aware of this teaching. It is easy for many to get caught up in the things of this life. We only have a finite amount of time on this earth in which to grow in Christ and glorify God. Our use of this time matters.
We do not want to stand before Jesus knowing that we used our time to serve ourselves. We also do not want to fall short in the blessings we could receive now in Spirit or in the Kingdom to come because we were too busy with pursuits in this world.
In any case, whatever measure we can sacrifice the pleasures and riches of this life for gain in the Kingdom of God will be rewarded.
Jesus said, “every one that has forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.”
The degree to which we should take care for what we have and for others and the degree to which we should sacrifice what we have is a matter each person has to determine for themselves as the Lord leads.
If our treasure is Jesus, then He will show us what to do. A heart that says, “Thou art my portion, oh Lord” will be rich in the Kingdom of Heaven, no matter their greatness or smallness in this world.
We might not always know what we are supposed to be doing, but if we keep seeking Jesus in faith then we know that all things are going as the Father ordains, and this will be for our good. It does not always seem good now, but the gain promised is more than we can imagine.
This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the statements Jesus made during His Sermon on the Mount, to which He referenced in His Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand. Visit the link for quick access to all articles written within this series.
PREVIOUS POST IN THIS SERIES: Where Your Treasure Is, There Will Your Heart Be Also (Part 1)
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