Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Extended reading: Matthew 6:9-18 the Lord’s Prayer and fasting

Matthew 6:19-24

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 “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.

 

Back when I was a college student, I could put all of my worldly possessions in my car (except of course, the stuff that I stored at mom and dad’s house!). I can’t say that anymore with my own house that is full of stuff. Art supplies, books, fabric, yarn, you name it, I have it, along with all the other “stuff” that makes up a house. Are they important to me? Sure, but I hope they are not my treasure, compared with the treasure in heaven that God has given you and me.

These earthly possessions are subject to wear and tear, not to mention the possibility that someone could come in and steal them (although I think I am safe on the sock yarn stash!) Jesus is saying that we can elevate these earthly things to way more importance than they should have. Meanwhile, we can neglect what is truly important, namely our relationship with God that is eternal.

Jesus compares faith to our eyes. It is but one part of our bodies, certainly, but Jesus says that if our eyes are healthy, our whole body will be full of light. In the same way, faith is part of who we are, but faith influences the entirety of our lives – our ethics, our decisions, our relationships, you name it.

We are not iguanas, who have the ability to swivel each eye independently, to look two directions at once. Our eyes can look only one place at a time, and Jesus reminds us that we may serve only one master at a time. We have to make a choice. Serve God or serve the possessions. Serve God or serve the god of money. For all the things that make up our lives and fill our homes, I pray that we will keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, for he is our treasure, the treasure that lasts into eternal life.

 

Prayer

Holy God, you love us and want the best for us. You know what is truly important, what is our best treasure. Let us not substitute the treasure of heaven with a lesser god that cannot ultimately satisfy. You know what we need and provide for us. Free us from holding too tightly to possessions and in the process, turn away from the joy of knowing you. Let us live to praise you and keep our eyes fixed on you, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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