Treasure, Anxiety, and Judgment

Treasure, Anxiety, and Judgment 

“But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.” (Matthew 6:17–7:6, ESV)

Fasting

Jesus emphasizes the importance of fasting, not as a showy act or an empty ritual but rather to proclaim his sufficiency in our lives. From prayer and charity to abstaining from food, God emphasized that these acts should be motivated by love for him - approaching them with sincerity and whole-heartedly instead of focusing on outward appearances. With this powerful reminder, Jesus looks back at what was meant by Old Testament practices while highlighting the dangers associated with religious observance without true devotion behind it.

Treasure

Jesus shows us that earthly treasures won't last forever, and they could even be taken away from us. He emphasizes that real abundant life is found when our hearts are set on heavenly riches instead of what the world can offer. There is a choice to be made: to serve God or our desire for wealth. The pursuit of money can become so all-consuming unhealthy devotion to possessions. Materialism creates divided loyalty; it's not possible to serve both God and money at once! If God is the one we serve, then it's time to leave behind any worries over material needs.

Anxiety

Serving God rather than Mammon allows us to recognize him as the ultimate Provider, Redeemer, and Creator. Jesus invites his disciples to rest assured that their needs will be met by a heavenly Father who knows them before they even ask. Jesus is a faithful king that will care for his own in such a way that they do not have to be anxious or worried. Life is more than the pursuit of necessities. Jesus points to examples from nature as he explains that birds and lilies are cared for by their creator. The child of the king may be assured that if the Father cares and gives such attention to his creation, will he not look after us all the more? We must seek the kingdom and his righteousness, and God will add these things to us. There is enough trouble in this day, so one need not look to the next in fear. This good Father can be called on and trusted.

Judging

This passage is sometimes misused as a way to say that no one has the right to question or critique anyone else. It is important to remember that Jesus actually encouraged judgment in certain contexts. He says, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment” (John 7:24 ESV). Later in this chapter, Jesus says, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them” (vv. 15–16). That is, disciples must discern—must judge—who is a false prophet and who is a true one.

It is easy to be critical of others without being critical of ourselves, and the parable Jesus used to illustrate this point teaches that we have a tendency to demand more from others than we are prepared to deliver ourselves. The type of judging condemned by Jesus is the critical judgment of a fellow believer because critical judgment out of malice penalizes the believer. Verse six does not contain an imperative but a statement of recommendation. Jesus' statement about dogs and pigs is startling and seems out of place.  However, it is important to recognize that we can't make everyone see our point of view. Rather than trying to convince those who do not wish to be convinced, it's best for us to focus on sharing our message with the people open and ready to receive it!