Passage: Matthew 6:19-24
Guide for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection
In Matthew 6:19-24, Jesus gets to the heart of things (literally) by addressing what we treasure. In fact, all that Jesus commands in the Sermon on the Mount will be possible only if we have Christ as our treasure—and the consequences of treasuring the wrong things in life can be disastrous.
Therefore, Jesus is very direct. In the starkness of his contrasts, he reminds us that the need to choose a treasure in life is unavoidable—we must choose. We will all take one value and elevate it above all others—one pursuit that that has supremacy, around which everything else gives way, and which “masters” our other treasures. Jesus warns, then, against “laying up for ourselves treasures on earth” (6:19) and tells us instead to “lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven” (6:20). Our earthly treasures—our possessions, for example, or our comfort, reputation, or sense of security—are not only unstable, but they also reveal what our heart truly worships, and what it will continue to seek after.
Jesus zeroes in on material wealth in particular, because of how often we use money as a means of pursuing the earthly treasures we most long for. Though few of us think we have a problem with greed, Jesus apparently thinks we do, warning us that we “cannot serve God and money” (6:24). There is no middle ground. If wealth, or the privileges wealth can bring us (security, comfort, reputation etc), are our treasure and master, then we cannot truly serve God as Lord, because we will always be managing our obedience to fit around the pursuit of wealth.
What we treasure will also shape our perspective in life. If our “eye” (which reveals what we value) is bad, then “our whole body will be full or darkness” (6:23). In other words, if our treasure is wrong, we will be “in the dark” as to the true nature of life as God intends it, always running into problems that stem from our wrong treasuring, without ever quite understanding why. The opposite is also true—“if (our) eye is healthy, (our) whole body will be full of light” (6:22). We will walk in wisdom and clarity, in light of how God made us to live.
Ultimately, Jesus and the kingdom he is bringing is what we should treasure. Jesus is the true “rich young ruler” who willingly gave away his heavenly treasure, becoming poor in order to rescue us, and bring us into the light of God’s love. There is no more life-giving treasure than Jesus, and no more solid investment than his kingdom.
• We All Have to Choose a Treasure (6:19-21)
• Our Treasure Shapes Our Perspective (6:22-24)
• Jesus is the One We Should Treasure Supremely (19:16-22)
Group Discussion & Personal Reflection Guide
Re-read the passage(s): Matthew 6:19-24
We All Have to Choose a Treasure (6:19-21)
INTRO) Before listening to this sermon, how would you think about your relationship to material wealth? Is it something you thought about often, or not too often? What thoughts and feelings would surface in you when you thought about money? Why?
1) Re-read Matthew 6:19-21, and mediate on these verses together. Consider:
• How does Jesus contrast the results of “laying up treasures in heaven” with “laying up treasures on earth”?
• What truths are the images of “moths” and “rust” and “thieves” meant to convey about the nature of what we treasure?
• What does Jesus mean when he says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also?” Is this a warning? A prediction? A simple statement of fact?
2) In the sermon, Pastor Bobby gave some examples of “earthly treasures” that people commonly have…things like treasuring our own comfort, our security/safety, our reputation/image, etc. Is there an “earthly treasure” that you’ve been treasuring above Jesus and his kingdom? Why do you think this treasure is so important to you? In what ways has this treasure led you into disobedience to Jesus?
3) What are some ways that “moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal” our earthly treasures today? Where have you experienced the instability of your earthly treasures? Where have you seen others experience this?
4) What does it mean to “lay up treasures in heaven”? What are examples of what it would look like to do this? How can you grow in this?
Our Treasure Shapes Our Perspective (6:22-24)
5) Re-read Matthew 6:22-23. What point is Jesus making here about our treasure, and the way it affects our perception? What does it mean for our “eye” to be “healthy” or for our “eye” to be “bad”?
6) In the sermon, Pastor Bobby said that treasuring wealth (or what wealth affords us—security, comfort, reputation, etc) has a way of blinding us to reality. Have you ever noticed this dynamic taking place in your life? How so?
7) Re-read Matthew 6:24-25. Some might read these verses and ask, “Why is it not possible to serve both God and my pursuit of wealth, so long as I love God more…I don’t feel like being devoted to money leads people to “despise” God. That sounds a bit extreme.” How would you respond to this question?
8) In the sermon, Pastor Bobby mentioned that few people feel like they themselves have a problem with greed. Why do you think this is so? What are some subtle ways that greed can manifest itself in our lives?
Jesus is the One We Should Treasure Supremely (19:16-22)
9) Re-read the story of the Rich Young Ruler in Matthew 19:16-22. What did the young man treasure? How do we know? What does Jesus treasure? How do we know? How is Jesus the true “rich, young ruler?”
10) How does Jesus’ love for us empower us to invest freely and sacrificially for his kingdom, rather than doing so merely out of guilt or duty? What is one concrete way you want to invest in serving Jesus and his kingdom?
Additional Application Questions
Q) How else would you like to engage with God this week?
Q) How can you tangibly care for those in your community this week, both inside and outside of the church?
Spend time praying for yourselves, our church community, the North Shore community, and our nation and world—particularly those most vulnerable.