You cannot serve God and money. (Mt 6:24)
We have seen throughout chapter 6 how Jesus draws a series of contrasts between the hypocrites and His disciples, on charity, prayer, and fasting. In our text next week, He continues to contrast: treasures on earth with those in heaven (vss. 19-21), a good and bad eye (vss 22-23), two masters – God and money (v. 24), and the pagans who are anxious about their natural lives and those disciples who seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (vss 25-34). There is so much in our text that we can focus on, but the main theme that ties this pericope together is Messiah’s view on materialism.
It is the normal human tendency to try to accumulate material objects and net worth on earth. As we amass wealth, we can see and enjoy our earthly comforts with our natural senses; however Jesus admonishes us not to store up earthly treasure, but rather to seek to make deposits in an invisible heavenly account, where it is not only secure from the elements, but it will accumulate genuine benefits. Even in the best investments on earth, all material objects will ultimately be lost, if not by the elements of earth (moth and rust) then certainly on the last day, when according to Peter, “the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.” (2 Pet 3:7). Without question, every material object will eventually perish. So would it not then be best for us to focus our attention and energy laying up eternal treasure in heaven by serving God instead of money? Though many have tried to serve both, Jesus tells us that it is in fact impossible to do so – one necessarily excludes the other. No one can serve two masters … (6:24).
Since serving God necessarily rules out serving money, it follows that, as a result, the one who serves God can trust God’s promise that they need not be anxious about anything – even the most basic things which money buys – food and clothing. The practical application of serving God and living for invisible, eternal treasures is that we know by faith that God will meet all of our physical needs as we set our priorities on His kingdom and righteousness. If we serve money, we walk by sight trusting in what is seen, but if we serve God, we walk by faith that God is just and will rightly recompense those who lay up their treasure in heaven. Where does your eye, your heart, your treasure lie?