February 25, 2024 | Doug Sauder
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“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”—Matthew 6:19–24 (NIV)
Did you know that a variety of studies in psychology have shown that intentionally looking at someone’s face and making eye contact increases feelings of love and affection for someone? I’ve seen this to be true in my own life with my family. When I watch my kids talk at length about something and I’m not on my phone, watching TV, or driving, when my eyes are fixed on them, looking intently at their face, in their eyes, my appreciation and admiration and love for them wells up. I can’t explain it, but in those moments, my heart feels fuller.
It’s the same with Jesus, friends! In Matthew 6:21, Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. . . . The eye is the lamp of the body.” What does this mean? It means that what you behold, what you focus on is what you treasure. Just like what I described with my kids but so much greater and deeper, when you behold Jesus, when you keep your eyes focused on Him and His kingdom, He becomes your treasure!
When Jesus is the treasure of your heart and you have a kingdom mindset, when you understand that heaven is your home, and when you focus on the eternal instead of the temporal, Jesus promises that your life “will be full of light.”
But what happens when your gaze is set firmly on the treasures of the world? The world becomes your true treasure. And when the world is your treasure, Jesus promises your life will be full of darkness.
Then, He takes it even further, telling us that it’s impossible to have one eye on the heavenly and one on the worldly. There’s no middle ground here. In fact, in Revelation 3:16 (NIV), Jesus calls this being lukewarm and says He will “spit you out of [His] mouth.”
You simply cannot serve God and live for His kingdom and also mammon, which is defined as “the treasure a person trusts in.” You see, when we serve mammon, our god is actually self. Mammon worship is self-worship. And the problem with worship of any kind for which God is not the object is that we become slaves to the thing we’re worshiping.
When I elevate my feelings, the fulfillment of my desires, or my entertainment and comfort, I become consumed by those things. When I elevate my works, performance becomes my master. When I elevate my appearance, my image or status, my career, finances, or family, my gender, sexual, ethnic, national, or cultural identity and I place all my trust upon these things, I become subservient to that thing, and any challenge to its place in my life feels like an attack on my very core! And the worst part is that this god of mammon promises freedom and fulfillment but delivers bondage and brokenness—it leaves us lacking and lost in darkness.
But not God. When we serve Christ, whether we have nothing to our name or we have an embarrassment of riches, whether we’re in a prison or a palace, starving or well-fed, whether we can afford an iPhone 4, iPhone 14, or can’t even afford a pay phone, if Christ is all we have, then we have everything we need because Christ is everything!
Pause: Why is it impossible to serve God and mammon?
Practice: It’s time for some true, honest self-reflection and a little blind-spot 360 reviewing. First, check your heart and prayerfully ask yourself who you’re serving. Then, ask a friend or two to be honest with you about what they’re seeing in your life.
Pray: Heavenly Father, I desire to serve You above all else. I want Your Son to be the treasure of my heart, and I want Your kingdom to be where my eyes are focused. Help me by Your Spirit to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.