Matthew 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes 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. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; 23 but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
This text is from the Sermon on the Mount which is the most complete set of Jesus’ teachings to his disciples. Jesus spends a lot of time talking about the disciple’s relationship to wealth, because he knew that wealth, as much as anything, threatens whether his followers would persevere in the way of the cross. In this text, Jesus is very clear. “Don’t store up treasures on earth.” “Treasure,” in this case, can be anything material.
The problem with things of the earth is their impermanence. You can lose a diamond ring. Your holdings in the stock market can be gobbled up in when Bull market. A house can burn down. A car can crash or rust or wear out. Nothing can give us what it promises in its materiality.
Another problem with wealth is the manner in which it preoccupies the mind. Jesus called our fixation on wealth “the eye which allows in light or dark.” It is a common human problem that we think we can cure our loneliness, depression, frustration, and disappointment by buying something – the car or the house or the toy will surely make us happy we think. But Jesus says, “When your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness.” “Eye” is what we dwell on, think about, dream out, and spend our money on.
Jesus knows that we humans serve/worship the thing/s we think most about. It is impossible to have twin devotions. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters…you cannot serve God and wealth.” Impossible. It’s especially sad when a disciple of Jesus thinks that they can give most of their attention to the world while at the same time giving Christ the devotion he expects. As Jesus said, “You can’t do it.”
Father and Creator of the world. You designed us with a God-shaped hunger. But when we start snacking on the sugary world, we know that our appetite for you will be impaired or destroyed. We know that cars, houses, adult toys, and other distractions cannot give us the fulfillment and joy that you can, so we ask you to give us divine dissatisfaction with the world. May our appetite for you increase. May we recognize that whatever discontent we may feel inside ourselves actually comes from not giving you our best and our first. In Jesus’ name we pray this. Amen.