SECTION 2: THE PROCLAMATION OF JESUS THE KING
THE KINGS’S SERVANTS AND TRUE TREASURES
CHOOSING WHAT WE TREASURE WISELY
Scripture To Consider:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness.”
“No one can serve two masters; for either he [or she] will hate the one and love the other, or else he [or she] will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [or riches or wealth].”
“Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
“Which of you by worrying can add one cubit [eighteen inches] to your stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed [clothed] like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”
“Therefore, do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’. For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6.19-34
Something To Consider:
In describing the ideal life which He requires, Jesus gives two warnings in reference to the attitude of mind which should characterize His followers in their relation to worldly possessions. The first warning is against a desire for gain, and the second is against anxiety or worry. The former is the special temptation of the rich, the latter of the poor. The former is forbidden on two or three different grounds.
First, it is foolish to lay up treasures upon the earth, because earthly possessions are so uncertain and are so soon to pass away. Secondly, they tend to turn the mind away from God and from His kingdom. Then, again, the desire for wealth may become such a passion as to dull the moral sense. It may blind the eye, whereas a generous spirit clarifies the spiritual sight so that the whole being is full of light.
Then too, there is great peril lest a man or woman be possessed by his or her possessions. For it is possible and is indeed the case for so many that the desire for gain may transform one into a slave and may turn them from the service of God, and according to Jesus, “No man can serve two masters…” “You cannot serve God and mammon [riches].”
On the other hand, Jesus warns us against anxiety or worry. Of course, He does not forbid foresight and prudence, but He wishes to keep us from the carefulness and worry which destroys our peace and hampers our usefulness. He points us to the birds, to show that our heavenly Father will provide necessary food. He also suggests the folly of anxiety which can shorten but never lengthen the life of a person.
Therefore, Jesus cautions us by stating, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” In the midst of all the natural beauty of the flowers of the field, He assures us that our heavenly Father will so clothe those who place their trust in Him and in His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
It is indeed a confident dependence upon the care of our heavenly Father which banishes anxiety. Therefore, Jesus instructs His followers, by declaring, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” In other words, if we will first empty ourselves of our desire for the world’s rewards and seek first the things related to His kingdom and not our kingdom, He will fill us with all needful things.
Jesus insists that we should not borrow trouble. He tells us that tomorrow will have its own trouble and temptations for worry. Yes, for each day there will be evil enough, but never too much, for those who place their trust in God and in His Son’s atoning death upon a cross. And so, once again the decision to worry or to trust is left with us!
More Scripture To Consider:
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck out of your eye’, and look, a plank is in your own eye?”
“Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye. Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” Matthew 7.1-6
Something Else To Consider:
In relation to the evil that is in the world, Jesus gives two warnings to His followers as He continues to describe to them and to us, the ideal life which He desires all true believers to lead. He warns us first, against the disposition of condemning others, and secondly, against carelessness. When Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged”, He did not mean that we can avoid forming opinions of others, or that we should not condemn what we know is wrong and is in opposition to revealed Scripture.
Jesus is forbidding His followers to be unkind in their judgments or to delight in unfavorable criticism. He condemns the spirit of faultfinding, first, on the ground of its danger, “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged…” Not only will we be judged by our fellow men, women, and young people, who are sure to condemn us with as little charity as we have shown toward them, but we shall be judged by God Himself who has promised to judge us with the same severity which we have shown in wrongfully judging others.
Further, Jesus suggests that one taking a position of condemning another is absurd. He draws the most ludicrous picture when Jesus suggests that it is ridiculous for one in whose eye there is a huge beam to attempt to relieve one in whose eye there is a mere splinter. Still worse, it is mere hypocrisy, for in criticizing others we usually suggest that we are greatly distressed by their weakness and faults, whereas in our hearts there is a secret joy, or the same weakness or fault.
If our sympathy was real, we would first seek to remove our own imperfections, particularly our lack of charitableness and fullness of pride, and then we would be fitted for the high service of enabling others to overcome their defects. The followers of Christ are never to condemn nor are they to delight in communicating unkind criticism. The true lesson to be heeded is found in the living example Jesus has left us in the pages of the four gospels, Matthew’s being among them.
However, we are not to go to the other extreme and become indifferent to the evil that is in the world. We must discriminate carefully between men, women, and young people of differing moral character, and we must regulate accordingly our attitude toward them. This is particularly necessary for those who desire to rightly communicate spiritual truth. We must have regard to time and place and to the nature and condition of those whom we approach and whom we seek to influence with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
If, for instance, one seeks to cast a splinter out of a brother or sister’s eye, he or she must act with tact and discretion. There are truths also which by some could neither be understood nor appreciated. They would be rejected, scorned, despised, and their hearers would be insulted and feel they have been abused. For this reason, Jesus declared, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”
However, this caution must not be pressed too far. Christians must bear testimony even at the peril of their lives, and they are often surprised to find that those whom they, with hasty judgment, would have pronounced as hopeless and hostile, are found to be quite ready and even eager to learn the good news concerning Christ Jesus.
Something More To Consider:
The more years a person lives, the more important choosing what we treasure wisely becomes. Solomon, in Proverbs 11.4, wisely summed up the entirety of our Scripture to consider. He points out by emphatically stating, “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.” Now if the average wage earner was to make that same statement, we might have grounds to argue or to debate his or her rational thought process, but Solomon was at that time the wealthiest man alive.
Think about it for a moment. The richest, wealthiest, possessor of all that his eyes feasted upon, declaring that riches, this world’s conceived finest treasures, do not profit or benefit a person in any way in the day of God’s wrath. Solomon was wise enough to look far enough into the future to catch a glimpse of the judgment day of Almighty God, and he was made fully aware that his lifelong accumulation of this earth’s much sought after substance was of absolutely no value when he alone and individually stood before a holy and righteous God.
Solomon wisely realized his vast abundance of things was to him of no help when it came to eternal matters. He understood that righteousness, the righteousness of God, was the only personal possession that could deliver him from spiritual eternal death. In other words, Solomon would totally agree with Jesus’ words of warning that He declared in Matthew 6.33; “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”
Solomon would also absolutely agree with Jesus proclaiming, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Choosing what we treasure wisely should be a personal priority for us all as true born again believers in Jesus Christ.
A Few Final Words:
In our choosing what we treasure wisely, how important to us are the above words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount? As servants of King Jesus, do His words take precedent over our accumulating riches or a more pleasurable retirement nest egg? Do His words take precedent over our living more for what this life contributes to our earthly wellbeing than for eternity?
We should be asking ourselves these questions now, not when we are face to face with the reality and finality of eternity. And for some of us, we may be standing on the precipice that will usher us from this earthly life through the portal of death headlong into eternity. Therefore, now is the time to consider the ramifications of our earthly choices. Now is the time to decide whether to be hearers of the Word of God only, or to be doers of the Word of God.
The true and wisest bottom line is always found in the written and preserved Word of God. The question we must answer is, are we going to allow the allurements of this world’s fading treasure to steal, kill, and to destroy the life offered to us by God? Or are we going to be found choosing what we treasure wisely by seeking first and foremost the kingdom of God and His righteousness in and through Jesus, and cease forever the laying up of more earthly treasures which in time tend to decay and corrupt?
The truth is, we are simply pilgrims passing through this world and this world’s sensual and seductive system. Will we be found in the midst of an evil and adulterous generation, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith and our true heavenly sent to earth treasure? All that glitters is not gold! And even if it was, what would it profit a man, a woman, or a young person, if they were to gain all the world’s wealth in exchange for losing their own soul?
Our Father in heaven, thank You for making us to be true servants of our King Jesus. Thank You for pointing out in Your written Word the true treasures of life. Help us Father to truly choose wisely what we treasure while living here upon this earth. Make us more mindful of eternal and holy things before it is too late. May we truly heed the warning words of Jesus. In Him Always, Amen!