For many people, money is their god. Just like a god, money controls their lives, consuming all their energy, thoughts and time. Money is the main source of their joy, and they’re never satisfied with how much they have but are always wanting more. This is often true for rich and poor people, and Jesus addressed both groups among His followers during His sermon on the mountainside. He explained how God expects His children to view money and material things, making it very clear that we can’t serve both God and money. It’s one or the other, but not both.
Wealthy people often reveal that money is their god by hoarding their riches, continually accumulating more and more for themselves, amassing much more than they really need. Jesus said, however, that we shouldn’t store up treasures on earth. It’s foolish to do so, because everything on this earth is destined to perish ultimately. In fact, most of it is slowly perishing right before our eyes. This was even more obvious to the people in Jesus’ day, who didn’t have the benefits of moth balls, rust-proofing paint or padlocks! But what Jesus said then is still true today.
For those of us who are saved, hoarding riches on earth is even more foolish, because there’s a way we can convert our temporary riches into eternal riches. Jesus said that we should lay up our treasures in heaven. How can we do that? Jesus once told a very wealthy young man that if he sold his possessions and gave the money to the poor, he would then have treasure in heaven (see Matthew 19:21). We can do the same thing. When we give money on earth, it’s like making a deposit into our bank accounts in heaven.
Rich people aren’t the only people who often make money their god. Poor people frequently become just as consumed with material things. Their concern, however, is not with hoarding more and more riches, but with the simple necessities of life. They become worried about whether or not they are going to have enough food and clothing. Just like many wealthy people, their focus is on material things.
But God expects His children, even those who are poor, to be focused on Him and His kingdom. Jesus promised that if we will live for Him and make the kingdom of God our primary concern, then God will supply all our daily needs. He cares about us, so there’s no need for us to worry. Look how well God takes care of all the birds, providing them with food. If you ever see the birds gathered in your yard having a prayer meeting for food, then you might begin to worry about God supplying your needs!
Q. Today we read something that is difficult to understand, when Jesus said, “Your eye is a lamp for your body. A pure eye lets sunshine into your soul. But an evil eye shuts out the light and plunges you into darkness. If the light you think you have is really darkness, how deep that darkness will be!” (Matthew 6:22-23). What do you think He was talking about? Hint: Look at the context of those statements.
A. Jesus was talking about two kinds of people, the saved and unsaved. People whose god is money are not saved, because Jesus said it is impossible to serve both God and money. His comments about the eye allowing light into the soul or shutting it out also describe the saved and unsaved. A person with a “pure eye” is a person who is looking for the truth (often symbolized by light), and when he finds it, he lets it into his soul. He then has God’s truth within him. A person with an “evil eye” is a person who does not want God’s truth, and when the light of God’s truth shines in his face, he shuts his eyes because he doesn’t want it to get inside him. Many people shut their eyes to God’s truth because they think they already have the truth, but really they’ve believed only lies. Consequently, they are full of darkness even when they think they have light inside them. That kind of darkness is the worst kind.
Q. Can we rightly conclude from what we read today that it is wrong for us to work hard to make money, or save some of the money we earn?
A. Certainly not. We can’t give any money away unless we first have some ourselves. Jesus was warning us that money cannot be our main priority in life if we are going to be His followers. Our primary concern should be with His kingdom and living for Him. We should guard ourselves against greed, and shouldn’t worry about having enough, but rather, should trust in our heavenly Father’s care.
Application: Many kids don’t have a lot of money, but nevertheless, like poor people, money can become their god. Is there evidence in your life that God is your god and not money? Do you give away a portion of what you do receive?