No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24, NKJV).
Matthew six is all about getting to the heart of our “heart condition.” Jesus called the Pharisees (religious teachers) hypocrites; by pointing out all they did in order to gain God’s favour. They made a point of letting others know when they were doing something charitable (Matthew 6:1-4). They prayed loudly so that everyone would know they were pious and devout (Matthew 6:5-7). They let everyone know when they were fasting (Matthew 6:16-18) by dressing in mourning garb and making their appearance look bad. Jesus called out their self-righteousness by saying they did none of this for God but to gain respect and admiration from their fellow man. He finishes up this part of his sermon by reminding the people not to store up for themselves treasures on earth (which was what the Pharisees/hypocrites were doing). But Jesus says we are to store up for ourselves treasures in heaven. Why? Because “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Mammon is an Aramaic word meaning “riches” or what you value. Jesus saw right to the heart of the Pharisees and what they valued more than a relationship with God, was how people perceived them. Their “treasure” was admiration and praise from others. Their worries and concerns were never about what they would eat or drink or wear, it was all about their reputation.
Some people today are like that. But others genuinely worry where their next meal will come from and how they will provide for their families. For believers who struggle with a lack of money, their faith is tested every day. But, here is the key to that testing – you can set your heart on the treasures this world has to offer, or you can place your life in the hands of the Saviour and trust Him to provide for your needs. By trusting in God, you are storing up “treasures in heaven”. Now that may seem like a pat answer coming from someone who has no idea what it's like to struggle to put food on the table. But you would be wrong. When My husband and I decided to start a family we made a conscious decision that I would stay home with the children, like our mothers did with us. So we have lived on one salary for 32 years. And we had many times when we were down to our last breadcrumb and our last dollar, but God always came through for us and our children never went hungry. So yes, it is all about trusting God to provide and when you activate that trust you can effectively stop worrying.
There are two things Jesus admonishes us to do that will keep us from worrying:
Jesus once compared the kingdom of God to a mustard seed (Mark 4:30-32). Mustard seeds are incredibly small, but they grow into huge trees. Jesus was saying to the listeners of His day that His kingdom had seemingly unimpressive beginnings, but it would one day be so great and powerful, the whole world would recognize it.
Each one of us is a mustard seed. Each step of faith we take by trusting in the Lord, helps us grow a little bit more. As we share His love with others, His kingdom enlarges and grows. When we “seek the kingdom of God” we are actively leading others towards faith in Christ – making that kingdom (like the mustard seed) grow.
When we put off worry and place our faith in God, that tiny little mustard seed of faith grows within us and becomes God’s righteousness. We become more Christ-like in our thinking and behaviour. And when that happens, we learn how to take our worries and concerns to the Creator and leave them there.
Jesus finished off Matthew six with these wise words. I highly recommend you memorize them:
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:33-34, NKJV).
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
The above verse was one of the first verses I ever memorized as a new Christian and it has stuck with me for close to forty years. But what does it mean to trust in God? How do we know when we are hearing from Him and how do we step back from our desires and submit to Him alone? Surprisingly, the verse above gives us the answer.