Jesus On Money
In Matthew 6:19-24, Jesus gives clear teaching about money. These are the big take aways:
1. There are two places to deposit treasure - heaven and earth.
Jesus begins this teaching by saying:
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, … but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.
Jesus is teaching us to prioritise the eternal kingdom of God in our use of money. Our posture is to be proactive: do not lay; lay. These are action words, and Jesus is teaching us to take steps to accumulate treasures in heaven.
2. There are two types of treasure: temporary and eterna
Jesus describes temporary treasure as earth-based,
where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal
Alternativey, eternal or heaven-based treasure is in a safe place
where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Every use of money is purchasing something temporary or investing in that which is eternal.
3. Heart follows treasure
In one his most profound observations, Jesus observes that
where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
We are tempted to think that treasure follows heart, that we give money to those things we care about. Jesus said that actually, the opposite happens: wherever we put our treasure, our heart is going to be there. This means we can direct our heart through good researce allocation. If we prioritise, give to, and invest in the kingd of God, that's where our hearts are going to be.
4. WYSIWIG: What you see is what you get.
Look what Jesus says:
The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
In short, money follows vision. If you see earthly treasure, that’s where you’ll invest and what you’ll get. If you see heavenly treasure, that’s where you’ll invest and what you’ll get.
This is especially difficult in an age of materialism driven by marketing: people are paid thousands of pounds to develop creative and compelling ways to prompt people to give up money in exchange for stuff. We call this susceptibility to marketing; Jesus called it a bad eye - being captivated by what we see.
5. No Divided Loyalty
In case we haven't gotten the point, Jesus makes it real clear:
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
We all have to use money; we cannot follow Jesus and serve money. It's that simple. Money is a tool by which we trade our work for life necessities like food, shelter, and clothing. But to serve it - to give it more significance in our lives than it should have and to prioritise its accumulation - is to stop following Jesus. We cannot serve God and money.
6. The Double Win
In conclusion, we simply observe that this is one of Jesus' most pastoral teachings. He always wants us to experience the blessing of freedom. But this freedom includes a double win: when we cultivate a heart that is generous to God advances the growth of the gospel and keeps us free from materialism. As he says in Acts 20:35:
It is more blessed to give than to receive.
And so the double win includes a double blessing: We get blessed with a clean, materialism-free heart; the gospel is blessed as God’s church has resources to fulfil its mission.
That's what Jesus has to say about money. What should our response be? Submit to Christ's Lordship over your personal finances. In the words of Nike, a master at marketing: Just Do It.