Matthew 6:19-21 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust does corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust does corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
In the 1980 presidential election Ronald Reagan asked the American people a very insightful question. He asked us: “Are you better off now than you were 4 years ago?” And 34 years later many people are still asking themselves the same question. That question no doubt helped Reagan to win the election and it’s because the question struck a deep chord within Americans who were experiencing some terrible economic times.
In the late 1970’s America was in a deep recession, gas prices were high, the cost of living was going up and up due to inflation… sound familiar? So, what Reagan really was asking the American people was: “How is your quality of life these days?” And today, we keep asking ourselves the same question…
You know, as long as man has been around we’ve been trying to improve our quality of life…man has always striven to earn a better living, eat better food, live in a better house, provide better things for our families, but does merely increasing the quality of our lives through money and what money can buy constitute a better quality of life?
I mean, how many times have we heard the same old sad story about some rich person who lived a completely empty life? Jesus said: “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses.”
And He told a parable about a rich man who trusted in his wealth and possessions rather than trusting in God. The man laid up all kinds of treasure here on earth and once he figured he was on “easy street” he decide he retire and eat drink and be merry. But God said unto him, “You fool, this night your soul shall be required of you: then whose shall those all those things belong to?”
That man died and all of his treasure that he had laid up here on earth now belonged to someone else. Jesus concluded His story by saying: “So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:15-21).
God says it’s foolish to set your affections on the things of the earth, it’s foolish to lay up treasure here without being rich or generous towards God …it’s foolish. Like the rich man of Jesus’ parable, there are people who are foolish enough to believe that money can buy happiness and fulfillment and that money can provide all that they could ever want or need, but they found out otherwise in the end.
Jesus said do not “layup treasures for yourself here on earth…but layup treasures in heaven …for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”. You see, if you lay up treasures on the earth for yourself then that’s where your heart will, it’ll be for yourself…but if you lay up treasures in heaven or for God then that’s where your heart will be.
We’re told in 1 Timothy 6:17 “Charge them that are rich in this present age”… who are the rich in our present age? We are! Americans are the world’s richest people! Paul said, “Charge them that are rich in this present age that they be not haughty, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy”.
Paul is talking about material things in this context and he says that God gives us all things to enjoy, but when those treasures begin to steal our hearts away from God, then that’s a problem. BRATS, are we spending our time and energy laying up treasure here on earth for ourselves without laying any treasure up in heaven for God? Jesus said not to lay up treasures for yourselves.
We are called to be stewards for God. A steward is someone who manages the property of someone else. We are to be stewards over God’s things and if we have plenty of things on earth then those are God’s things, not ours. My income isn’t my money, its God’s money and He is kind enough to allow me to use some of it for my needs and even pleasure!
But when you get a real revelation that you're God’s servant, He is your Master and everything that you have is ultimately His then and only then will you understand what a Christian steward is. Everything I’ve been entrusted with is not solely for myself.
Jesus said this: “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye be sound, your whole body shall be full of light. But if your eye be evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23)
Jesus used a Jewish figure of speech that most of us are not familiar with…it’s a word picture in which the eye is like a window to a room. He says if there’s light coming out of the window then that means that the room is filled with light, but if there’s no light in the window then that means there’s no light in the room, it’s in darkness.
What’s His point? If you can understand the Hebrew figure of speech regarding an evil eye and a single eye or a good eye, then you’ll be able to understand what He’s saying here. You see, in the Bible if you have a good eye or an evil eye that always means that you’re either generous or greedy.
Someone who has an evil eye is someone who has a greedy heart. So, when the Bible is speaking of an evil eye it’s speaking of greed. We might call someone a “Scrooge” or a “Gordon Gekko” or something like that to say someone’s a greedy person.
A single eye or a good eye is a generous heart. If you see someone in need and seeing that you’re willing to help them… then you have a good eye. If you see them and that doesn’t cause you to want to help them then you have a bad eye or an evil eye.
“He that has a bountiful eye (a good eye) shall be blessed for he gives of his bread to the poor” (Proverbs 22:9). That’s describing a generous person…
“He that hastes to be rich has an evil eye, and considers not that poverty shall come upon him” (Proverbs 28:22). That’s describing someone who is not generous…
So someone with an evil eye is someone who does not give to others and someone with a good eye is bountiful and does give to others. So…how’s your eyesight? Would Jesus say it’s good or bad?
In Matthew 6:22-23 Jesus is making a distinction between being greedy and being generous and that fits the context perfectly because He also said in Matthew 6:20 that we shouldn’t layup treasures on earth but layup treasures in heaven.
Jesus is saying that your attitude toward money will dictate what your life will be like. If you’re greedy for money then you’re life will be full of darkness; if you’re not greedy then you whole life will be full of light. In other words, your attitude toward money will affect your whole life.
Do you think having money alone can make you happy? Do you think money alone can increase your quality of life? Jesus is teaching that if you want true happiness and a true quality of life then you will need to be a generous person that gives to those in need.
2 Corinthians 8:9 says “For all of you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that all of you through his poverty might be rich.” And John 15:13 says “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
I find it interesting that Jesus Himself laid down His treasures in heaven so that He might lay down His life in earth so that we might be able to lay down our treasures in earth and layup eternal treasures in heaven.
So, BRATS…are you laying it up or laying it down? Are you chasing the American Nightmare, is your eye evil or good?Jesus calls us all to a life of generosity and serving God. It’s your choice whether or not you’ll drop everything to follow Him.
GO BLESS, BRATS!