Saturday, January 11, 2014
Matthew 6: Eternal Things are Invisible
Mt 6:1-34 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be 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. 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? ...
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."
Jesus in this chapter emphasizes the invisible over the visible, for the invisible are eternal and the visible are temporal. So, in the spiritual disciplines of giving, praying and fasting, it's not important that man sees what we are doing, but only that God sees what we are doing. For the purpose of these disciplines is for the invisible God rather than the visible people. For only what is done for the invisible God has eternal consequence: "your Father who sees in secret will reward you" (v.4, 6, 18).
In the same, we do not seek visible treasures on earth for they are temporal and temporary: "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal." Instead, we should seek for invisible riches in heaven for they are eternal and forever: "lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal." So, we should seek the invisible and eternal treasures rather than the visible and temporal ones.
So what are temporal treasures? Here Jesus refer to our worldly possessions -- like what to eat, what to drink, and what to wear. Jesus says that non-believers seek after these things, but for children of God, our Father knows we need them and so we don't need to seek after these visible and temporal things. Instead, as children of God, we should seek for the invisible and eternal, viz., the kingdom of God and His righteousness ("seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness") and then God will take care of our visible and temporal needs ("all these things will be added to you.").
Whether in the practice of spiritual disciplines, in the matter of accumulation of riches and the material possessions, we should always put God's eternal and invisible priorities first. Then God will take care of our visible and temporal needs.
Father, thank You that You have called us to be eternal people who seek the invisible and eternal riches. May you help us sort out our priorities and align them with your word. Amen.