Thursday, September 15, 2022

Handout - A Study of Matthew - Treasure, Healthy Eye, Anxiety

by Stan Feldsine (

Matthew 6:19-21 - Lay Up Treasure in Heaven

Jesus gives further substantiation for rewards in heaven. Jesus's concern is with attitudes and practices that would prevent His people from receiving all that He has for them (Pro 28:22). A part of Jesus's concern was that those He was teaching would forget what they learned and go back to their old ways. When Jesus states that we should not store up treasures for ourselves on earth, He is speaking of hoarding stuff, and depending on material stuff for power, security and happiness. Jesus was not speaking against normal and wise stewardship of what we have. We are to make sensible provision for the future, planning ahead. He is speaking against covetousness, hoarding and always wanting more (Pro 6:6-11). The mind tends to focus on the things that we consider to be treasure. If our treasure is earthly, then our mind will be focused on earthly things. If our treasure is heavenly, then that is where our mind will be focused (Col 3:1-2).

Matthew 6:22-24 - The Healthy Eye

Jesus now provides an illustration of how what we are focused on translates to our heart condition. Jesus uses the example of the eye, the gateway to the mind and compares it to our spiritual "eye". While we see physically with our physical eyes, we see spiritually with our spiritual eyes. We are taking in what we see. You see me in front of you with your physical eyes, and you "see" me spiritually as you hear the Word of God being explained to you.

If the spiritual eye is good, we have clear sight, understanding the Word of God and engaging in spirit filled works. We are of sound mind, healthy and generous. With this mindset, our lives will be useful for the Master. Our reward in heaven will be great. If the spiritual eye is bad our sight will be limited, we have poor understanding of the Word of God, and we stray to works to satisfy self, and we are of an unhealthy and miserly mind. With this mindset our lives will be useless for the Master's purposes.

"How great is the darkness" speaks to both our lack here on earth as well as in the future when we stand before the Son of God, where our reward in heaven will be greatly diminished. We cannot divide our loyalties between accumulating treasure here on earth and in heaven. The two strategies are in conflict with each other. Ultimately, our loyalty will move in one direction or the other, and our Master will be revealed. We should devote ourselves wholly to the Lord.

Matthew 6:25-34 - Don't Be Anxious

The "therefore" in vs. 25 connects this passage to the previous one. The thought being conveyed here is that pursuing earthly treasure can lead to anxiety with regards to daily provisions as we struggle to gain and protect wealth. To be "anxious" implies to have extraordinary concerns and worries about loosing daily needs, food, drink, and clothing, not the fear of loosing luxuries and extravagances. The source of this issue is the lack of faith in God's provision, and allowing fear to take over. To encourage His readers, Jesus points out that our Lord provides for the birds and the flowers. The same God that takes care of these will take care of us. We should not worry about such things.

In vs. 33 we have the conditions for our assurance that God will take care of us. Jesus tells the people He is speaking to that what they need to do is "Seek first his kingdom and righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well." This is important to understand. God cannot bless His people if His people reject His care. Jesus stated that to accept His care we are to actively seek His kingdom and His righteousness. In light of the exhortation to seek His kingdom and righteousness, if we do that, then we have no justification for worries, for He will supply all our needs. The counsel being provided here is that we should be busy about doing God's work and living righteous and moral lives. If we do that than we have not need to worry over our daily needs of food, drink and clothing.

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