(If this Sunday is the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, read this devotion in the morning, and the devotion entitled, “The Sunday Before the Season of Lent” in the evening, under this same tab.)
Seek First the Kingdom of God
The next several passages of chapter six seem to coalesce around the climax at the end of it: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” We begin with Jesus’ admonition that we should not lay up treasures on earth; after all, any treasure in this world can be taken away. Did you hear that? Ultimately, there really is no such thing as financial security. So what does Jesus advise? Well, he thinks laying up treasures in heaven is a better investment. Why? Because the returns are eternal. And then there is the principle that explains the foregoing: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” How true. What we treasure most in life is the measure of what our hearts truly love – the treasure is the measure. What is it that you can’t do without? If it is something of this world, even your spouse or child, what will happen to you if he/she/it is taken away?
The next short text reminds us that the eye is the lamp of the body. The eye here is a metaphor for the heart. If you are filled with lust, envy, greed or any wicked desire, then that is how you will view the world and the people in it – as things that are supposed to serve your longings. But if our hearts are pure and chaste, then you will seek to use the world in ways that honor God while serving others. If your eye is full of light, then where others see an opportunity for sin, you will see an opportunity for godliness. Thus, no one can serve two masters. The masters mentioned here are God and money, but it is truly between God and anything else. And this is our greatest battle. John Calvin said that the heart has an endless reserve for making idols. It does. Just as soon as we rid ourselves of one, the sinful nature exalts another. So we must be on our guard, for our God loves us with a jealous love – and that’s a good thing (James 4:4-10).
The final words of the chapter are truly comforting. God is a loving Father who looks after the needs of His children. Behold the birds of the air and lilies of the field; does not God take care of them? Now, Jesus is not saying that we shouldn’t work for a living; read Proverbs to learn of this. But he is saying that we should live without worry and anxiety. And this is the chief sin of many of us, which indicates a lack of faith in God. Moreover, much of our worry is compounded by the things we are chasing after. We cannot serve two masters. If you are chasing the things of this world, which are here today and gone tomorrow, then you should be worried! So the answer is to seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness; for, in doing so, we can be sure that our loving Father will take care of the rest.