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Keeping your treasure truly secure

March 16, 2023

Daily Scripture

Matthew 6:19-34

19 “Stop collecting treasures for your own benefit on earth, where moth and rust eat them and where thieves break in and steal them. 20 Instead, collect treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moth and rust don’t eat them and where thieves don’t break in and steal them. 21 Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. Therefore, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how terrible that darkness will be! 24 No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be loyal to the one and have contempt for the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.25 “Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, or about your body, what you’ll wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds in the sky. They don’t sow seed or harvest grain or gather crops into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than they are? 27 Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Notice how the lilies in the field grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin cloth. 29 But I say to you that even Solomon in all of his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these. 30 If God dresses grass in the field so beautifully, even though it’s alive today and tomorrow it’s thrown into the furnace, won’t God do much more for you, you people of weak faith? 31 Therefore, don’t worry and say, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ 32 Gentiles long for all these things. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 Instead, desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Jesus’ teaching echoed the ancient Hebrew sages’ wisdom: eagerly amassing this world’s “treasures” does not produce a “secure” life (cf. Proverbs 14:22, 21:20). Sadly, many religious leaders in Jesus’ day (and since) overlooked that part of their faith. Jesus also made the deeply practical yet often ignored point (verse 27) that worry doesn’t actually solve problems or make our lives any longer or better. Jesus’ point wasn’t just spiritual “fluff”–there is research * that validates it.

  • Have you ever put money into something “experts” assured you was “secure,” only to watch it prove insecure? So much, fine in itself, can use part of our “treasure”—vacations, all kinds of collectibles, prized possessions, tickets to special events, houses, vehicles, retirement savings. Where is your heart? Do you put as much time and energy into “investing” in God’s heavenly kingdom as into earthly investments and spending options?
  • Scholar N. T. Wright said in Jesus’ teaching “the point was…priorities. Put the world first, and you’ll find it gets moth-eaten in your hands. Put God first, and you’ll get the world thrown in…. Living totally without worry sounds, to many people, as impossible as living totally without breathing….Here, at the heart of the Sermon on the Mount, is an invitation that surprisingly few people even try to take up.” ** Are you willing to try to take up Jesus’ invitation to not worry?

Lord Jesus, you knew a cross waited for you, yet remarkably you spoke of peace, of not worrying. Fill me with your trusting peace in a broken world. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory serves on the Resurrection staff as Human Resources Lead Director. Janelle finds that her heart is constantly wrestling with the truth that she needs a Savior, and the times when she's at her very best are when she's just too tired to put up a fight.

You get Jesus talking about money, and he can be a bit overdramatic, right? I mean seriously–“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy…” Am I the only one that pictures Mothra when you hear this? Do we need to be that paranoid about moths and vermin? Sure, we once had a squirrel chew her way through our siding and into our drywall, but that was an easy (though slightly costly) fix.

Or what about: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” So in order to love God, we have to hate money? Is that right? The last time I came across someone who actually hated money was… well, never. If this is the case, we’re all in trouble.

What’s Jesus really trying to say about money, then? I’m wondering if his modern version of a parable would look something like this: “Consider a can of hairspray. It’s great for keeping your style in place, your ponytail up, or your curls from falling. Nobody thinks a thing about it being a dangerous product, right? As long as you keep it out of your eyes and try not to ingest it (as if you’d like the taste), you should be perfectly safe for daily use. Hairspray isn’t generally something we keep in a locked cabinet. But each can of hairspray comes with a label that says something like: CAUTION Highly flammable. Because while hairspray is great to use under normal circumstances, it can easily turn into a blowtorch when mixed with fire. Hairspray is highly flammable.”

To break down the parable, when we talk about money, we have to know that it is also, figuratively speaking, highly flammable. If we think of money as hairspray, consider how our sin and selfish desires are the fire. When we rack up mounds of credit card debt, we’re spraying by the flame. When we constantly want more and more money, we’re spraying by the flame. When we would sacrifice our integrity just to get a little more dough, we’re spraying by the flame. When we won’t give back to God, we’re spraying by the flame.

Is having money a sin? I don’t think so. Having money, in and of itself, isn’t a problem. It’s perfectly safe to have when we are living below our means, when we’re giving it to serve God’s purpose, or when we’re saving for the future. You don’t often see money causing issues under these circumstances. In fact, having money to give away can be quite the blessing!

But at the same time, we should picture money with a warning label that says: CAUTION Highly flammable. Because when you get money next to your desires for this world, you’re more than likely to get burned.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Click here to read an article by Don Joseph Goewey about the value of eliminating worry.
** Wright, N.T., Matthew for Everyone, Part 1: Chapters 1-15 (The New Testament for Everyone) (pp. 66-67). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.