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Matthew 6:24

Posted 11/17/21, by Dan Vis

This week we've been looking at a few key verses in an extended section of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus talks about money. But really, it's more about our heart. What we treasure. Where we put our focus. And how that choice affects us.

If we treasure up earthly things, we will become more earthly. If we focus on heavenly things, we will become more heavenly. It's a law of the mind--our heart inevitably follows after our treasure.

In today's verse, we are going to look at what Jesus said about being divided on this topic. And it's a pretty strong statement:

Matthew 6:24
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.

Here Jesus is telling us we can't be divided. We can't really pursue some of one and some of the other. Or to quote the book of James, "a double minded man is unstable in all his ways" (James 1:8A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.).

If you're chasing material things, the requirements of a truly spiritual life will get in your way. If your focus is becoming more Christ like, material things will fade in value. Or to quote the old hymn, "will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace". It just doesn't work to try and pursue both.

In the two verses preceding this, Jesus tells us our "eye" (our spiritual sight) is the light of the body. And if that eye is single, our whole body (our entire life) will be full of light (Matthew 6:22The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.).

In contrast, if our eye is evil, our life will be filled with darkness. This concept of an evil eye is an allusion to Proverbs 28:22He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him., which says "he that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye". In other words, the pursuit of wealth (or as Paul puts it in I Timothy 6:10For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows., "the love of money") has a corrupting influence on our spiritual life.

The problem is not money per se, but our pursuit of it--that distracts us from our pursuit of God. It's not money, but our love of money, which implies "the love of the Father is not in [us]" (I John 2:15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.).

It's a pretty solemn warning actually. If our eye is evil, corrupted by the pursuit of earthly treasures, then it will be darkness filling our heart, not light. And ultimately, "how great is that darkness" (Matthew 6:23But 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!).

We can't really be divided on this topic. Our pursuit of a closer walk with Christ has to come first--at the cost of any temporal loss. Is your eye truly single to God?

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Posted by Dan Vis on 11/17/21
That's a great point Susan. It's not a choice between working and not working (seeking God), but rather between working as a means to selfish goals, or working as a means to serve God more fully. As such, Christians should actually be the hardest workers anywhere--it's just the motive that changes. And thanks for your testimony that when we do put Christ first, He supplies our needs. We'll come back to that verse later this week...

That's a great cross reference Laurie. I really appreciate you calling attention to it. I think in some ways, the way we "lay up treasures in heaven" is to give generously to those in need. For inasmuch as we've do that to those here on earth, we do it to Christ. And He will abundantly repay. So yes, generous vs selfish--it shows where our eye really is. Nice post!
Posted by Laurie Wissink on 11/17/21
I love the contrast between Proverbs 22:9He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor. and Proverbs 28:22He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.. It helps me to understand the "eye" a little better. If we are storing our treasures in heaven, we won't be selfish with earthly things. We'll have a 'generous eye', or an eye 'single' to heavenly things. We'll be willing to share what we have with those in need. But if our earthly blessings are hoarded for ourselves and not shared our 'eye' becomes 'evil' - selfish. And we will miss out on the true riches of life eternal. "Poverty will come upon us."
Posted by Susan Landess on 11/17/21
Jesus said to “occupy til I come” Luke 19:13And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.. We are to be a vital force in this world, whether it be farming, teaching, construction, etc. I have come to understand that whatever occupation I may have, whatever lies nearest at hand, if I ask God to help me seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, I have no worries about money. He knows what I need and will provide.
God has been so patient with me. This has certainly not been the case always.   He has lovingly taught me trust over the years. It is so freeing to not worry about the material things of this world   Oh praise the Lord for His goodness. He remembers our frame that we are dust

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