Priorities and Promises
From verses 19 to 24, the Lord warns His listeners not to focus on gaining stuff that can be stolen, or destroyed. Rather, we are to work to gain what is eternal. “...store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do no break in and steal” (vs. 20).
Why is that important? Verse 21 nails that down: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Our hearts and minds need to be directed toward those things that matter most to God. To focus elsewhere is to be blind, to be “in the dark” (vss 22, 23). We are then told that a choice has to be made. We have to decide to direct our attention to the things that matter to God or to concentrate on the stuff that will eventually be destroyed. We can’t do both (vs. 24). God isn’t just one of many priorities in our lives—He is THE priority.
But it isn’t that God doesn’t concern Himself with whether or not we eat, or have clothes on our back, or a roof over our heads. He does. And to that issue the next section of Matthew 6 is dedicated.
If we are focused on what God considers important, then we need have no worry about food or clothing or any of those things He knows we need to live. He looks after the flowers and birds so why would He ignore His children who are following Him?
Matthew 6:33 has been my life verse: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Those are God’s priorities: the expansion of His kingdom in a lost world and His righteousness growing in us. As we seek to honour Him by making those the priority of our lives, God promises to look after the rest.
This is not an invitation to sit on a mountaintop, think good thoughts and wait for God to drop a bucket of Kentucky Fried in our laps. Second Thessalonians 3:6-10 delivers Paul’s message against idleness, ending with “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” The Matthew passage is all about priorities and the promise of God to never fail those who faithfully make His priorities, theirs.
I mentioned that Matthew 6:33 has been a life verse for me. I should also say that God has never once failed to keep His end of the bargain. He will look after us as we seek to make Him the priority in our lives.