Having a Right Focus in Connection with Material Things
Matthew 6:19-34

Having a Right Focus will cause us to Avoid Avarice (vv.19-24)

(#1) Two Treasures: Our Focus affects Our Eternal Gain / Loss (vv.19-20)

 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust spoils, and where thieves dig through and steal; v.19 If we have our focus on the earthly possessions, they become our treasures. we will lose them to corruption (moth and rust) or violence (thieves), the two things that characterize the earth since sin’s invasion.

20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust spoils, and where thieves do not dig through nor steal; v.20 if we have our focus on heavenly things (the interests of Christ), those things will become our treasure (more and more precious). we will never lose them, because they are outside the reach of sin and death.

(#2) Two Hearts: Our focus affects Our Heart’s Condition (v.21)

21 for where thy treasure is, there will be also thy heart. v.21 this is a principle that can be appied in both ways. Our hearts will go out to what we have invested in. if we Invest in spiritual things, our thoughts will constantly be about things for profit, and happiness (Col. 3:1-4). the more things we have in this world, the more fear and anxiety there will be. if we have little, we can rest knowing our treasure is eternally secure.

(#3) Two Eyes: Our Focus affects Our Moral Discernment (vv.22-23)

22 The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body will be light: v.22 we need to have a single or Healthy eye… by having our focus on Christ. ask ourselves, what are we taking in? it will affect what is morally formed within us. if we focus on christ, light will characterize our walk and ways, such that we will “glow”.

23 but if thine eye be wicked, thy whole body will be dark. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great the darkness! v.23 if our focus is divided (an evil or unhealthy eye), not fixed soley on Christ, we will take in evil things, then evil will be formed in us. The warning is, the “the light that is in thee” – or, the light that we think we have – becomes darkness, because we are blocking the true light. “how great the darkness” – because we have become unmoored from the only absolute moral standard.

(#4) Two Masters: Our Focus affects Our Faithfulness to God (v.24)

24 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and will love the other, or he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. v.24 answering the question: why does focus in connection with material things result in moral change? the answer is that materialism has a spiritual root… coveteousness. serving two masters is a moral impossibility, because there are two roots (principles) that are mutually exclusive. Self-serving, and god-serving. “Mammon” was a canaanite god of materialism, which the disciples would have been very familiar with. “When it is a question of money, everybody is of the same religion.” (Voltaire, 1760)

Having a Right Focus will cause us to Avoid Anxiety (vv.25-34)

Examples from Nature showing that Anxiety is Pointless (vv.25-30)

25 For this cause I say unto you, Do not be careful about your life, what ye should eat and what ye should drink; nor for your body what ye should put on. Is not the life more than food, and the body than raiment? v.25 having been told the spiritual dangers of being overly taken up with material things (a danger to the wealthy), we are now exhorted to not to worry about our material needs (a danger to the poor). “Do not be careful [anxious] about your life [material living]”. For the believer, our “life” is more than our material needs… our priority in life is not the provide for retirement, but to futher god’s dispensation. we need to “roll” our burdens (assigned portion) onto the Lord, so that we can share the burden together (Psa. 55:22). Next follow instances from the natural world to illustrate:

26 Look at the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, nor reap, nor gather into granaries, and your heavenly Father nourishes them. Are *ye* not much more excellent than they? v.26 anxiety is a denial of the love of God. the birds of the air are not anxious about their provision. There is not obvious storing up of food for the winter, like the ants (Prov. 6:8). Yet somehow, beyond human understanding, God devises means that they can be fed. This is not an excuse to be lazy. the emphasis is on “your heavenly father” who nourishes the birds… if he does so for them, how much more will he care for his own children! To deny that he will take care of us is to deny his love.

27 But which of you by carefulness can add to his growth one cubit? v.27 anxiety is a denial of the power of God. We can’t help ourselves anyways. Anxiety doesn’t accomplish anything. All our strength is from God… to worry about it is to deny his power! This may be talking about extending our lifespan… “add to his growth [age] one cubit”.

28 And why are ye careful about clothing? Observe with attention the lilies of the field, how they grow: they toil not, neither do they spin; vv.28-30 anxiety is a denial of the wisdom of God. the beauty of the flowers is incredible… an artist would spend countless hours to create a painting that was only half as beautiful… but the flowers appear effortlessly. Wisdom is the best way to the goal… how to work efficiently.

29 but I say unto you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed as one of these. v.29 solomon was the wisest man that ever lived, yet in all his Glory, he was not arrayed like one of these simple flowers! How much greater the wisdom of God than man’s wisdom (1 Cor. 1:25)!

30 But if God so clothe the herbage of the field, which is to-day, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, will he not much rather you, O ye of little faith? v.30 if God’s wisdom in provision for the temporary and transient foliage is so evident, how much more can we count on his provision for us, for who he has paid such an infinite price! it all comes down to faith… do we believe what God has said? Do we trust him for these details? “O ye of little faith?” is a gentle rebuke, repeated four times in Matthew: 6:30 in regard to care; Matt. 8:23 in regard to fear; Matt. 14:31 in regard to doubt; Matt. 16:7-8 in regard to reasoning in divine things. all four have to do with failure in simple faith. And yet he never says “o Ye of no faith”.

Our Focus will Mark us as Either a Heathen, or a Christian! (vv.31-32)

31 Be not therefore careful, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we put on? v.31 a summarizing verse: don’t be anxious about material things; be it what we (1) “eat” - sustenance, (2) “Drink” – refreshment, or (3) “put on” - protection. He isn’t saying to be careless (reckless), but to bring those burdens to the lord, and not be anxious.

32 for all these things the nations seek after; for your heavenly Father knows that ye have need of all these things. v.32 this is what characterized the gentile world: materialism. But a christian has a conscious knowlegde that God in heaven is his father, and looks upon him with favor, knowing all our needs, and having abundant power and wisdom to “supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phip. 4:19).

The Proper Focus for Subjects in the Kingdom (vv.33-34)

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. v.33 focus the kingdom of God. perhaps one of the most practical verses in the bible… it isn’t saying that we should put they kingdom first, then worry about material things. Rather, we should focus on the kingdom and God will take care of the rest! live in today. what are we to seek? ... see Rom. 14:17. The righteousness of God in this context is practical conformity to the character of God.

34 Be not careful therefore for the morrow, for the morrow shall be careful about itself. Sufficient to the day is its own evil. v.34 don’t be anxious for the future. anxiety which dreads an evil thing tomorrow is nothing but unbelief. When tomorrow comes, the evil may not be there; but if it does come, God will be there. god will give us the grace to meet the evil we face each day… to be anxious about evil is not faith.