Man is only a traveler on this earth, a foreigner. Our true home is in heaven. We are only servants and ambassadors of God. Everything we have with us on this earth belongs to God; it is not ours. And on the day of judgment we will have to give an account to God concerning how we have used our possessions. We will have to give account not only concerning how we have used our money, but also concerning how we have used our skills, our gifts, our education. All these are from God; they belong to Him. If we store up these things selfishly for ourselves, we shall surely lose our reward in heaven (see Mark 8:36; Luke 12:16-21). Jesus said, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor” (Luke 12:33). We must keep for ourselves no more than we need, and we must calculate our needs according to the needs of the poor around us.
21 There are two reasons why it is foolish to store up treasure on earth. The first is that it will perish. The second is that it becomes our master. To the extent that we love our treasure, to that extent it will control us. We become slaves of our treasure. Satan uses earthly treasure to entrap us, to turn us from God. When we store up treasure in heaven, we give our heart to God. When we store up treasure on earth, we give our heart to Satan. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Let us heed this teaching. Let us not say, “This teaching does not apply to me. I am poor.” The main question we must ask ourselves is this: “What do I desire? What am I seeking?” The poor seek for riches too! Jesus asks: “What is in your heart? What is your goal? Who is your master; whom do you serve?” Let us turn from the treasure of this world and turn our eyes toward God. And when we do, we shall begin to store up treasure in heaven that will last forever.
22 The eye is the lamp of the body. The eye here means the “eye” of the heart or mind, that is, our “spiritual eye.” With our bodily eye we see worldly things; with our spiritual eye we can see spiritual things. With our spiritual eye we can recognize good and evil, worldly treasure and heavenly treasure.
If our spiritual eyes are good, that is, sound and healthy, our whole body will be full of light, God’s light.
23 God’s Spirit comes into our lives through our spiritual eyes. If our spiritual eyes are shut or blind, God’s light cannot shine within our soul, and we will remain in spiritual darkness. The only source of spiritual light is God. If that light is darkness, we are in darkness indeed! Jesus said, “See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness” (see Luke 11:35-36).
How are our spiritual eyes? Are they clear, sound? Do we see Jesus? Jesus is the light of the world (John 1:9; 8:12). Do we see that light?
24 No one can serve two masters. The two masters are God and Money. “Money” here means any kind of worldly treasure: land, house, animals, family, education, job, authority, fame. In place of the word “money” we could substitute the word “self.”
Every person must choose which master he will serve. In the same way, everyone must choose which kingdom he will live in: the kingdom of God or the kingdom of darkness. No one can be a citizen of both kingdoms at the same time. Just as there are only two masters and only two kingdoms, there also are only two roads a person can walk on: a narrow road leading to eternal life, and a wide road leading to eternal punishment (see Matthew 7:13-14 and comment).
Many people are deceived by Satan. They think that they can serve God and “Money” together. They want to store up treasure on earth and treasure in heaven at the same time. But it never works. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). The important word here is the word “all.” Not half, not 90 percent, but all.
Jesus told the rich young man, “Go, sell everything you have” (Mark 10:21). He said this because the young man loved his possessions. The Apostle John wrote: Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him (1 John 2:15). Either we love the world, or we love the Father; we cannot love both. We must choose.
Why do men keep laying up treasure on earth? They know it will perish. And even if the treasure doesn’t perish quickly, men perish. And when they perish, they cannot take their treasure with them. Even their education, their fame, will be of no use in heaven. Why do men keep seeking worldly treasure and thereby lose their heavenly treasure?
The reason is sin. Sin enters man’s heart, and from sin arises selfishness. And from selfishness comes all the other sins, such as pride, greed, lust.
Sin does three things. First, it makes us its slaves. Second, it makes us spiritually blind. We can’t see we are slaves. We can’t see the true light, which is Jesus. We can’t find the narrow path to heaven. Third, sin destroys us. The punishment for sin is eternal death.
This is why Jesus taught men to turn from sin, to put away worldly treasure. There is no greater mistake a man can make than to store up treasure on earth.
25 Therefore … do not worry about your life. This does not mean that we should not look ahead and plan. It does not mean that we can stop working and expect God to feed us. God feeds the birds (verse 26), but they have to look for their food. God will feed men too, but men must plant and plow and water. If a man doesn’t work, he won’t eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
Jesus teaches here only that we must not worry. Paul wrote the same thing: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Philippians 4:6).
Why do we not need to worry? Because it is unnecessary. If God gives us life, will He not give us little things like food and clothes? Having one day given us a body, will He the next day let it die of hunger? Certainly not. If God can give big gifts like life, He will certainly give the small gifts too. God doesn’t promise to give us more than we need, but we can rely on Him to provide our necessities.
26 The same is true for birds. God gave them bodies. Will He not also provide food for them? And if He provides food for birds, will He not provide food for us, who are more valuable than birds? (Matthew 10:31).
The same thing applies to spiritual gifts also. If God gave us the greatest gift of all, His own Son Jesus, He surely will give us all other blessings, both spiritual and physical (see Romans 8:32 and comment).
27 To worry is not only unnecessary, it is also pointless. By worrying we cannot add a single hour to [our] life, or a “single cubit to our height.”34 According to Luke 12:26, Jesus also said, “Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” Jesus’ meaning is that worry accomplishes nothing.
28-30 Just as God feeds the birds (verse 26), so He clothes the flowers. If He clothes the flowers, who are not His children, surely He will clothe us who are His children. Even King Solomon, David’s son, the richest king of the Jews, was never dressed as beautifully as a lily.
Then Jesus said: “… will [God] not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (verse 30). Worry is a sign of little faith. Jesus didn’t say “no faith”; He was talking mainly to His disciples, to believers. But many believers have little faith. They have enough faith to be saved, but they do not have enough faith to stop worrying. They believe in Jesus, but they don’t believe everything He says.
Jesus said, “God will give you food and clothing.” Do we believe it? He said, “Come to me … and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Do we believe it? He said, “… whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst” (John 4:14). Do we believe it? Do we have this kind of living water in us? We need to confess that we are men of little faith.
“Little faith” has another meaning, too. It means to be discouraged by our circumstances. Our circumstances can become like a master. Our circumstances can weaken and even destroy our faith. No matter what our circumstances are, we need to continue hoping, rejoicing, believing. Because all of our circumstances are in God’s control. And God is our loving Father. He will not let anything happen to us that is not for our good (see Romans 8:28 and comment). Therefore, why should we worry? If we truly believe in a loving God, we will not worry (see Romans 8:35,37). But even Jesus’ disciples in the beginning had but little faith (see Mark 4:37-40). Every Christian needs to grow in faith. It is a process that lasts our entire life.
31-32 Jesus said: “Do not worry about food and drink and clothes. For the pagans run after all these things.” Here in this context, the word “pagan” means not only Gentiles, or non-Jews, but also all those who do not believe in the one true God.35 God is not a loving Father for unbelievers. They do not rely on God. Therefore, they worry about food and clothing. They seek these things first, instead of God.
Many believers, however, are just like unbelieving “pagans.” They, too, worry about food, clothes, and other necessities. They worry about the future. They think mostly about worldly things. Such Christians indeed have little faith.
How can we increase our faith? First, we must remember who we are. We are God’s children. God always does what is best for His children. Second, we must remember who God is. God is our Father, and His love, His power, and His wisdom are without limit. Not a sparrow fails to the ground without God knowing it. He knows the number of hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:29-30). If He knows that, He surely knows all our needs (verse 32).
33 Jesus said, “Do not be like unbelievers, who seek only the things of this world.” Put your confidence in God. “… seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
In Hebrews 11:6, it is written: … without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. God Himself said through the prophet Jeremiah: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). How earnestly do we seek God? Do we seek Him above all else? Do we think about our treasure in heaven? Paul wrote: Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2).
We must seek not only God’s kingdom, but also His righteousness, that is, we must seek to be like Christ. We must hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6). As we do this, we shall be filled. Our faith will grow. When we stop seeking God and His righteousness, our faith decreases and our worry increases. To increase our faith we must come close to God, pray to Him, read His word. James wrote: Come near to God and He will come near to you (James 4:8). God is ready to give us everything we need, if we believe and draw near to Him. He says, “Seek me first, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Not only that, God has given us His kingdom. Jesus said to His disciples: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). When we seek God first, He gives us food, drink, clothes; He gives us His righteousness; He gives us every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). And finally, He gives us His kingdom! Jesus said: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:34). Friends, let us not lose so great a blessing!
34 Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow. God has promised to supply everything we need, if we seek Him first. Paul wrote: And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
Here Jesus teaches that we must live one day at a time. We must not worry about the mistakes of yesterday; they are passed. We must not worry about tomorrow; it hasn’t come yet. Tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Only today we must think about. We must obey God today; we must walk with God today; we must trust Him today. Jesus prayed: “Give us today our daily bread” (verse 11). We don’t need to pray for tomorrow’s bread. God gives us what we need day by day.
Let us understand Jesus. Yes, we must think about tomorrow. We must plan. We must plan today, so that we can harvest tomorrow. But we must not worry about tomorrow.
Worry is from the devil. It is one of his weapons. By means of worry Satan tries to weaken and destroy our faith. How can we overcome worry, then? By resisting Satan. James wrote: Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7). We must continually tell the devil: “Away from me, Satan!” (Matthew 4:10).
Together with resisting the devil, we must put our confidence in God. Peter wrote: Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Let us believe this verse. Let us apply our faith, and our worry will end.
God never fails to fulfill His promises. David wrote: I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread (Psalm 37:25). Trust in the love and faithfulness of God. Love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Seek Him above all else, and all these things will be given to you as well. The incalculable riches of God are ours in Christ, not only in this life, but for all eternity.