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 about getting to the heart of our “heart condition.” Jesus called the Pharisees (religious teachers) hypocrites by pointing out all they did to gain God’s favour. They made a point of letting others know when they were doing something charitable (Matthew 6:1-4). They loudly prayed so 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 this part of his sermon by reminding 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 the hearts of the Pharisees. He knew they loved the opinions of others more than a relationship with God. Their “treasure” was admiration and praise from the people they were supposed to serve. Their worries and concerns were never about what they would eat, drink, or wear. It was all about their reputation.
Meanwhile, others genuinely worry about 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 “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, as our mothers did with us. So we have lived on one salary for 40 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.
But how do we activate that trust? Where do we start? There are two things Jesus commands 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 tiny, but they grow into giant trees. Jesus was saying to the listeners of His day that His kingdom had seemingly unimpressive beginnings. But it would grow and expand into a powerful force.
Each one of us is a mustard seed. Each step of faith we take by trusting the Lord helps us grow a little more. As we share His love with others, His kingdom enlarges and grows. When we “seek the kingdom of God,” we actively lead 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 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).