Rick Nevala | The Voice of Zion September 2021 --
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. — Matthew 6:19–24
God promises to care for His own. We humans, however, are often so tied up in this life that we forget God and His promises. We try to make a living in our temporal calling. We feel we should have control over our own destiny and should follow our own path. We make plans for the future and seek what’s best for our families.
Believers too fall prey to the inclinations of our flesh and own reason. We can begin to lay up treasures, mammon. The drive to want more and more is not far from us. We compare ourselves to our neighbors when we ought not to. We may wish to have what they have and then push to make more money so that we can attain these items. Our thoughts can even become consumed with making money and buying things.
Do Not Covet Things of This Earth
Mammon is an Aramaic word that means “gain.” Whatever we think of as gain for us in this world is mammon. To some it is sports and temporal glory, to another physical appearance and reputation, to another a full belly, to yet another riches and possessions. Paul instructs the Philippians about those that seek earthly gain, saying that the end of those who mind earthly things is destruction (Phil. 3:18,19).
Jesus said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God (Matt. 19). Scripture clearly teaches us not to covet things of this earth. At the end of our journey, they will be left behind and ultimately these things will perish.
God has promised to care for us in our everyday needs. Just as the plants and the animals in nature are provided for with sun and rain and nourishment and shelter, so too will our needs be provided for (Luke 12:22–31). In this passage from the gospel according to Luke, Jesus reminds us to trust that God knows our needs. Rather than seeking these things, we should seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness (v. 31).
Lay Up Treasures in Heaven
The Word of God teaches us to lay up treasures for ourselves in heaven, to seek God’s kingdom and those things that follow it. Heavenly treasures are eternal. The apostle speaks of what these treasures are, reminding us that the greatest of these is charity, the bond of perfection (Col. 3:12–17).
The most important matter in life is to have faith and to know our Savior, Jesus Christ. Our greatest treasure is the forgiveness of sins. It connects us to the blood of Christ. Christ’s blood drops mark the way to heaven. We follow Him and gather His blood drops, as we hear in sermons. When we follow Christ in obedience of faith to the end of the journey, eternal treasure awaits.
While we yet tarry here on earth, we must guard our hearts so that it doesn’t attach to treasures of this earth. Where our treasure lies, there is also our heart. When faith is the most important matter in our lives, we wish to follow the Lord Jesus in life, suffering and doctrine. Each day we make promises to walk in newness of life, trusting in God’s guidance and caretaking.
Walk in the Light
We thus endeavor to keep faith and a good conscience. We wish to care for the treasure God has given us for this time. We walk in the light as He is in the light, not grudgingly but with our whole heart. Not in hypocrisy, but in truth. As our text reminds us, we cannot serve both God and mammon; therefore we must choose which we cling to. The apostle reminds us that if we love the things of this world, then the Father is not in us (1 John 2:15–17).
Our text warns us of walking in darkness, out of reach of God’s care. This means walking in open sin, and it also means walking in self-righteousness. If the light in us is darkness, our text admonishes, then how great is that darkness! If we believe that we are believing correctly and are not, that is a scary place. We pray that we may remain in the light of God and walk therein. God’s care is found in the gospel, and this gospel is not found in the darkness. In darkness, one loses sight of the blood drops of Christ, and the gospel loses its appeal. Rather the person’s own reason lights his or her way.
God promises to care for His own. He reminds us to not be dismayed, for He is our God and He will strengthen us and help us (Isa. 41:10). He will battle with us against the threefold enemy. If God is for us, who can be against us?