A Heavenly Approach to Money and Wealth (Matthew 6:19–34)
Throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus gave some of his most direct teaching when it came to the subject of money. In the Sermon on the Mount, he didn';t condemn having money or working to acquire wealth. What he did, in fact, was condemn making money and wealth one';s life focus.
“Don';t store up treasures here on earth,” Jesus taught, “where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be” (Matthew 6:19–21).
The theme of God meeting the needs of every one of his people is prominent throughout the Bible. Probably the best known Scripture on that subject is found in Paul';s epistle to the Philippians: “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
Jesus, who obviously understood the negatives of human nature (including greed), taught that it wasn';t just difficult but impossible to serve God and money at the same time (Matthew 6:24). In fact, he went so far as to say that attempting to serve both will lead one to hate one or the other.
Jesus also understood that his followers'; concerns about money weren';t always motivated by greed but simply out of concern for day-to-day living. That is why he encouraged them not to worry about the things they need for everyday life — food, drink, clothing, and the like — but instead to just rely on a God who will give them everything they needed. (Read carefully Jesus';s beautiful and inspirational words in Matthew 6:26–30.)
Jesus told them (and us), “So don';t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?'; These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs” (Matthew 6:31–32).
The bottom line when it comes to money and possessions and wealth, Jesus told his followers, is this: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33).
Jesus knew as well as anyone that living this life required certain items, many of which can only be obtained with money. But he also knew perfectly the importance of making God his Father our first focus — with everything and anything else a distant second.
In this passage, what does it sound like Jesus';s approach to money really is?
How should this passage change the believer';s approach to money and possessions?