Jesus’ teaching on money and possessions

February 28th, 2015

This week I have been thinking about the whole idea of money and possessions. I have been reflecting on how for most of our lives we work and we toil to buy a home and if we are lucky we pay it off. We spend loads of money furnishing it and maintaining it. Then we buy and sell cars and maintain them. We work so hard to earn money and we seem to be caught up in this work hard, get paid, spend, work hard, get paid, spend cycle. It made me start to wonder if Jesus said anything about money and possessions.

In Matthew 6:19-34 there is actually a section titled, “Teaching about money and possessions”. This is part of Jesus’ sermon on the mount. In it Jesus shares about a different kind of life to the ordinary life that most of the world lives by. He talks about a life where were don’t have money and possessions as our sole focus. He tells us to focus on something else that has a more lasting and He gives us four key things that talk about our money and our possessions.

Let’s have a look at the text…

Bible Reading

Matthew 6:19-34

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 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! “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. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Reflections from this passage

In this passage we see four things that Jesus teaches us about life and money. As I said they are different to how most of the world lives. It is counter cultural – it is the Kingdom way of thinking about our money and possessions.

1. Store your treasures in heaven

Verses 19-21 talk about earthly treasures versus heavenly treasures. We see that earthly treasure can be damaged or stolen when thieves break in and steal. Heavenly treasures on the other hand are safely locked away with God. Nothing can damage or steal or destroy what is saved in God’s Kingdom bank vault.

As Christians we need to build “eternal superannuation” by supporting God’s work with our finances. We need to be generous and support God’s work in this world. The Bible says we need to set our hearts and minds on things above in Colossians 3:1-2. When our hearts and minds are set on the things above our whole lives take on an eternal perspective. This includes how we see our earthly money and possessions. We then realise that we are not owners of money and possessions, but stewards of what God has loaned to us we see what we have as heavenly treasure.

2. Let God be your only Master

Verse 24 says “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other”. As Christians we need to let God be our sole master, we can’t focus on building wealth and possessions to the detriment of our relationship with God. God must always come first in our hearts and in the way we live.

In Luke 12:16-20 we read of a man who built up wealth only for himself. In this parable Jesus tells us that life is more than material goods; far more important is our relationship with God. What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his own soul. If we accumulate wealth only to enrich ourselves and have money and possession as our master, with no concern for God or helping others, we will not only enter a Christless eternity, but we will do so empty-handed. We need to see our money and possessions from the right perspective and let God be our only Master.

3. Don’t worry about daily needs

Verses 25-32 looks at our daily needs of life like food and clothing. These things can cause us great worry if we allow them to. However the text tells us that God supplies our needs like He supplies the needs of the animals and birds. It says that we are of far more value to Him that they are (v26). We can trust Him to supply our daily needs because He loves and cares for us deeply.

Philippians 4:19 echoes this thought when it says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus”. God promises us to provide for our daily needs as we seek Him and do His work in this world. We need to follow Jesus and trust God to supply our daily needs. As today’s reading reminds us the pagans or unbelivers are worried with these things.

4. Seek first the Kingdom

In verse 33 it says, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need”. As Christians our primary focus needs to be on God’s Kingdom and what He wants us to do with our daily lives. God promises that if we seek His Kingdom first and live right, that He will give us everything we need to live both now and into the future.

Over the years I have met people who are “Seek first the Kingdom of God” people. They live their lives differently. They have different attitudes towards their possessions. They see money as a tool to provide for the needs of their families, but also to bless others and see the Kingdom of God advance. They sponsor children, they support missionaries, they give generously, they pay for Bibles for people who can’t afford them, they open their own homes to bless others. These type of people have always inspired me to live the Kingdom way.

Summary

We can see from this passage that we don’t need to worry about money and possessions. God wants us to focus first and foremost on His Kingdom. When we do that He promises to take care of our daily needs as we trust and follow Him. God loves you and I very deeply and He knows what we need daily to live. He will supply all.

So as we finish today let us remember these four things from Jesus…

  1. Store up your treasures in heaven
  2. Let God be your only master
  3. Don’t worry about your daily needs
  4. Seek first the Kingdom of God

Let’s pray.