There are many sayings similar to this one … “Money makes the world go round”. Whether you like such sayings or not, they are real. You cannot exist without some form of money. From the period known as the far ancient world, up to today, economies were and are supported by trade. Initially cattle and various grains were used followed by precious metals and precious stones. Today we have various currencies such as the US dollar, Euro, Pound, etc. Although money is made through many sources such as agriculture, farming cattle, mining, manufacturing, etc. people working for these and many other supporting businesses are paid in money. It is right and Biblical to work. God says:
Ex 20:9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work.
Survival as a human depends upon one working as God requires. Mostly today we are paid in money although sometimes “kind” is also used. (Kind could mean transport, accommodation, food, some form of material, etc.) Some people are able to earn more than others whilst some remain low wage earners. Amongst both groups, rich and poor, as well as anywhere in between, there are the greedy and selfish. But permit me to introduce another category … that of the criminal and thief. Some criminals and thieves see what they do as employment, but God does not see them as working for an income. Our text ought to be read again:
Mt 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, 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 he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
1) The intended difference between Kingdom People and those in the World.
(1) Nowhere does God say Kingdom people may not have wealth. Certainly wealth needs to be accumulated through hard work, investments or inheritance. God needs wealthy people within His Kingdom because this is where the main reservoir for supporting Kingdom work ought to come from. But Kingdom people must not be fixated by wealth, possession and money. The Gospel’s intention is that God’s people need to be content with what He enables them to have and not covet what others have. Being content with what God provides enables you to be better accountable with the resources He gives to you on loan. Greedy people are never content. Kingdom people are more concerned about whom they are and to where they are going than keeping pace with the neighbors, family and friends. Right here is the dividing line between true Christianity and the “name it and claim it” professors of the faith. To read into Scripture that God wants His people to be wealthy is to miss read Scripture. God wants us to be satisfied with Him and in Him. Once we do we will be satisfied with what He permits us to have.
(2) Not all people without God lust after wealth … just as some professing Christians are lusting after wealth. Having said that … generally, the world’s view of money, possession and wealth are diametrically opposite to that of the Kingdom. The huge difference is that the world’s mindset is that wealth, possessions and money is “mine” and because it is mine I may have as much of it as I can accumulate. The intentional Christian understand that every he or she has belongs to God who gives possessions, wealth and money to be used for His glory and His Kingdom. In other words, Christians are “middlemen” with God’s resources. At the minimal level, we earn a salary and tithe 10% plus gives offerings and help Kingdom people on need … to the higher level where we have more than we need and are able to channel bigger amounts into the Church or Para-Church Organizations. The world thinks this is crazy because even at the minimal level, most cannot own the best and become content with that which is useable and un-functional. The world needs to have more, bigger and better because it supports the ego and the lust.
3) The bank on earth.
Mt 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
(1) The word “store” implies amass, accumulate or heap up “collected treasures” as reserves for yourself on earth. There are two reasons not to store up treasures on earth.
(a) These treasures become your god. Idolatry is implied. The picture here is that the heart’s treasure is materialism. This is what you love, trust and depend upon.
(b) These treasures stand the change of being lost. There are two vivid, understandable ways that wealth might be lost.
(i) Moth and rust. Moths eat away at clothing. They eat it away … they consume it so that it is vanished from sight. Rust eats into metals. We are all familiar with corrosion. Eaten away and out of sight.
(ii) Thieves. In those days they would dig through the mud walls to steal (take away) the contents inside. Today thieves break through security fencing, burglar bars and security gates to get to the content inside … be it televisions, laptops, jewelry or money … and they remove it from sight … they take it away. Both pictures Jesus uses illustrates “loss”. You have your wealth, possessions and money and then through theft, stock markets crashing, interest rates being reduces or inflation, your assets are stolen or corrode away. They lose their value or are lost completely.
(2) The thrust of what Jesus is saying might not come through to us as easily as it did to His hearers. He is saying that when your focus is wealth, possession and money, these are your god and this is your present comfort … items of worship. They will fade away and disappear, just as your soul will be lost eternally.
Father in heaven, thank You for pointing this out to us so that we may avoid such idolatry which results in forfeiting the soul to hell. Keep our focus on the Lord Jesus. Amen.