Focus on Jesus Series
The Security of Money
Notes for Matthew 6:25-34
by Ed Vasicek
When I preached my sermon last Sunday (February 17, 2002), I did not have time to get to my last point. I had proposed that Christ wants His followers to think differently from society at large when it comes to material things, money, and wealth. Although Jesus' teaching method is “Rabbinic Oratory” with its exaggerations and use of the “hot and cold” method, we can summarize where we are in the materialism continuum by asking three questions.
We looked at the first, “Where Does Your Heart Camp?” and the second, “What Is Your Primary Source of Identity?” (This section included Matthew 6:19-25.) Christ wants us to store up treasures in heaven and to find our identity in Him (and in the blessings of being a human in the image of God), not the sneakers we wear or the car we drive.
There is a real tyranny in having to succeed materially, having to be among the best. There is a real freedom when we are broken from the bondage of status and materialism. In some ways, we then can enjoy life—and even the things of this life—so much more when no longer enslaved to them. But now let me address the third question, “How Do You Find Your Security?”
We worry because we feel insecure. Although some forms of worry can be downright praiseworthy (e.g., 1 Thessalonians 3:1 with 5), other forms display a lack of faith (insecurity). The temptation is to base our security on money rather than faith. Many people overspend or demand status items in a subconscious quest for security. There are many Proverbs that encourage us to plan ahead, to save for a rainy day, and even to save for our heirs, as Proverbs 13:22 recommends. I personally do not believe Christ is condemning a reasonable level of financial planning. I do think being obsessed in this area is another story. More isn’t necessarily better, nor is money to be our MAIN source of security. Money can only offer so much security. For example, someone could sue you and leave you broke!
The reason that the love of money is a “root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10) is because money is connected to the lust for power (characteristic of the devil himself). If we have much money but sense our vulnerability and therefore cultivate our relationship with God (and others), then money does not enslave us. If, on the other hand, we find our security primarily in the big bucks or status items, we deceive ourselves thinking that we have escaped vulnerability and the rude awakening that we have not thusly escaped is rude indeed. It is this "drugging effect" that inhibits many wealthy people from surrendering to the Lord. The key to it all is summarized in Matthew 6:33: "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
Ultimate security comes ONLY from a relationship to God.
Interesting ancient quotations from other Rabbis (in the Talmud) that are reminiscent of Jesus teachings in these verses:
"Have you ever seen beasts or fowls that had a workshop? And yet they are fed without trouble or mind…" Fol.15.1.
"There is enough of trouble in the very moment…" Bab.Berac.fol.9.2.
Highland Park Church
516 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, Indiana, USA