Matthew 6:21-24

21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

The friends of Joe all knew him to be someone who worried. He worried about money, and he worried about life. One day Bill saw Joe coming, bouncing along as happy as a man could be, whistling and humming and wearing a huge smile. Joe looked as if he did not have a care in the world. Bill could hardly believe his eyes, so he had to find out what had happened.

“Joe, what’s happened to you?” he asked. “You do not seem worried anymore.”

“It’s wonderful, Bill. I haven’t worried for several weeks now.”

“That’s great; how did you manage it?”

Joe explained.

“I hired a man to do all of my worrying for me.”


“That’s what I did!”


Bill mused.

“I must say that that is a new wrinkle; tell me, how much does the man charge you?”

“A thousand dollars a week.”

“A thousand dollars a week to pay him! How could you possibly raise a thousand dollars a week to pay him?”

Joe answered,

“That’s HIS worry.”

As Jesus transitioned from teaching about covetousness to the topic of worry, He made an astute observation, and then a final statement. Attention is drawn to Matthew 6:21. Jesus observed, “ \Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

One might think it should be said,  “Where your heart is, there will your treasures be also.” It seems like the word order is wrong. However, Jesus is correct because we have many inclinations.  We are like children in a store trying to select what items we want to spend our money on.  There are conflicting emotions. What Jesus is saying is that in the final analysis, where the money is spent, ultimately the heart, the essence of a person, will be there too.

More than one pastor has said,  “If you will let me look at your checkbook, or, in today’s language, if you will let me look at your credit card statement, I will tell you where your heart is.”  The Lord’s observation is not intended to lay false guilt on anyone. It is intended to say it is important to prioritize what is essential in life, and what is peripheral.

John Wesley encouraged his people to, “Make all the money you can, save all the money you can, and give all the money you can.”

My own counsel is to encourage people, after paying for the necessities of life, to decide how much they want to save, how much they want to give to the work of ministry, or in works of charity, and how much they want to personally enjoy.

When considering where to put our spiritual and financial resources, the foundational principle taught by Jesus is to be remembered.  “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

When it comes to money the question is this. “Who, or what, is the Master?” There are two basic options. Silver, or the Sovereign. Materialism, or Jesus Christ.

As financial decisions are being made, the words of Jesus are to guide our belief and behavior. “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.  23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matt. 6:22, 23).

Commenting on these verses, Charles Spurgeon wrote,

“When a man’s highest motive is himself, what a dark and selfish nature he has; but when his highest motive is his God, what brightness of light will shine upon all.”

When it comes to laying up spiritual treasures in heaven, or earthly treasures, there is no question where Jesus would lead His people, because the word

“Therefore, in verse 25, draws attention to a conclusion.

“[based on everything I have just taught] I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Jesus knows how natural it is for us to worry about money, and many other details in life, and so the Lord transitions to that topic by giving a direct command.  His followers must not be concerned about the essentials of life. The Lord offers valid arguments, or reasons, why Christians need not worry.

The first argument is from the lesser to the greater. “Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” (Matt. 6:26). The reasoning is compelling.  If God will take care of the birds who do no labor for their food, will He not feed His own children? The answer is, “Yes!” God will provide for His own. God places a premium on people, and He does so even when many do not. We live in a day and age in which life is cheap.

On June 7, 1982, former U.S. Representative Les Aspin, Democratic Congressman of Wisconsin, shocked many Americans when he revealed to the news media that the Pentagon spends about 3.3 million dollars a year to provide low-cost veterinarian care for pets owned by members of the armed services. Aspin declared that it was “not only ironic but also offensive that subsidized pet care in the military remains a sacrosanct federal program. Medicare gets the ax, but ‘Peticare’ marches on.”

The animals in this world are wonderful. They are to be valued and appreciated, especially if you like a good steak, hamburger, or pork chop. However,  “Are we not much better than animals?”

For many, the answer is no.

There are millions who can cry over the slaughter of a baby seal, only to turn with a cold heart, and without tears, and terminate the life of a baby in the mother’s womb. The place which should be the safest and warmest environment for an unborn infant has been turned into a legal death chamber. Over 63 million babies have died since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. The unborn are not even as good as the spotted owl, which is federally protected. However, in the eyes of the Lord, humans are much better than animals.

Because you and I are the product of God’s special creation, He will provide for His own.

“Overheard in an Orchard”

Elizabeth Cheney

Said the Robin to the Sparrow,
“I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so!”

Said the Sparrow to the Robin,
“Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me!”

The teaching of Jesus, is that our Father in Heaven will provide for our need, not our greed. There is a difference. Paul reminds the Church that, “Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”

As Christians we must be careful. Nothing good comes from being greedy, and desiring what others have.

Cain coveted the approval that God gave to the sacrificial offering of his brother Abel.

Abimelech coveted Sarah, the wife of Abraham.

David coveted the wife of his loyal solider, Uriah.

Ahab coveted the vineyard belonging to Naboth. 

Nebuchadnezzar coveted treasure found in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

Ananias and Saphira coveted the attention given to Barnabas.

Nothing but trouble and sorrow happened in each case. But if we are careful, the normal position is that God will take care of His own. We are of more value than the animals.

The second argument Jesus uses against being unduly concerned is the meaninglessness of the time spent in such a state of mind. “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” (Matt. 6:27).

Many years ago, there was a Christian lady named Mary Hostetler who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The end was near, and yet this wonderful woman became an inspiration to all who met her. During the final days she kept saying,

“I am not worried.
I am going home.”

Only the grace of God, and a firm desire to obey Jesus Christ regarding the state of our mental health  can elicit such words from a Christian’s heart.

A lesson is remembered. There are some things in life that are final, irreversible, unchangeable. Death is certain. The natural height of a person is certain. Therefore, on a practical level, why worry? Worry has never changed a single thing.

Many years ago, Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr (1892 – 1971) was Professor of Applied Christianity at Union Theological Seminary in New York. He wrote a prayer, which has become well known as,

“The Serenity Prayer”

“God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Jesus sets forth a third argument against undue anxious care in Matthew 6: 28-30.  

“And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?”

Simply put, worry expresses a lack of trust in God. Worry is a question mark on the Lord’s sovereignty, as well as His integrity, for He has promised never to give His children more of a burden than can be borne.

As Christians, we can talk, almost glibly, about God supplying all our needs. Then the pressures of life come, and we find it is not so easy to wait for the Lord to work, and yet that is what He requires.  “Casting all your care upon Him for He careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

From time to time the Lord gives us the opportunity to take a leap of faith into the unknown, and cast all our cares upon Him, not in theory, but in reality.

There is a fourth reason why the Christian should not worry according to our passage

“Therefore, take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things” (Matt. 6:31-32).

Jesus said that worry is a characteristic of the Gentiles, meaning, those who do not know God. Worry is not simply lack of faith, or else we could say, “Lord, increase our faith.” Worry is much more serious for it speaks of being like the person who has no covenant relationship with the living God. Our Father in heaven knows what we have need of because He cares enough to monitor our lives. But God does more than just take notice of our needs. He is willing to supply them.

As a father, I knew what my children needed when they were young, and as a father I wanted to supply their needs. By the grace of the Lord their needs were met. They had food. They had clothing. They had shelter. They had toys. They had love. Sometimes, when I knew what they wanted, I tried to give them the desires of their hearts as well. I probably did not do as well as they would have liked, but that is my memory.

If we as earthly parents delight in providing the needs of our children, and beyond that the desires of their hearts, how much more does our heavenly Father delight in giving the gifts of grace? Having said this, let me hasten to add that I understand how easy it is to tell people not to worry. I also appreciate how frustrating it is to hear what ought to be done without explaining how. I do not want to make that mistake, so let me share with you some simple practices to use to put away worry. And I will do that in the message, “God’s Cure for Anxious Care.”

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