Money Itself is Nothing.
What we do with money is what matters. The Apostle Paul wrote to his student Timothy:
- “But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:9-10)
The author of Ecclesiastes wrote:
- “The one who loves money will never be satisfied with money, he who loves wealth will never be satisfied with his income. This also is futile.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10)
In a parable in Luke 16, Jesus concludes:
- “Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.” (Luke 16:9)
- And later in verse 13 he says , “You cannot serve both money and God.”
In Matthew 6, in his most famous sermon, Jesus tells his followers to not store up their treasures on Earth, but to store them in heaven. Then suddenly he talks about healthy and unhealthy eyes. Some translations say good and bad eyes, others still say single/whole and evil eyes. What’s universally translated after this is that the eye is the lamp of the body. We’ll get back to that.
Jesus then seems to suddenly jump to teaching about money, repeating what we heard in Luke 16, “You can’t serve both money and God.” (Matt 6:24)
Isn’t it weird that Jesus switches quickly from possessions, to eyes, to money? What’s really going on is that many scholars believe ‘good/single/whole eye’ is a figure of speech that means ‘generous’ and that ‘bad/evil eye’ means ‘stingy’. Think of weird expressions like that in English, like ‘He has a sharp eye’. That’s not talking about literal pointy eyes.
So the flow of this passage is this:
- Store up your treasures in heaven.
- Do this by being generous, since it fills your body with light like a lamp.
- Because you can’t serve both money and God. Your loyalty will be for one or the other.