What Jesus Has to Say about Wealth and Worry (A Bible Study on Matthew 6:25-34)
Jesus consistently shows us the importance of authenticity. And not in a cheap social media way; he wants the person on the inside to match the person on the outside. He wants your prayer life, your generosity, your spiritual disciplines, everything to be consistent inside and out.
In this section of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks to what is one of the most defining and important habits and practices, which is how we deal with money and how we deal with our anxieties, two closely related things.
WHAT’S THE BACKSTORY?
Matthew 6:22-23 might throw you off simply because that's he's using a Jewish expression. He's talking about how the eyes are the lamp of the body. If your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. And if it's unhealthy or dark, you'll be body will be full of darkness. In this kind of Jewish idiom, a good eye meant you were generous, and a bad eye meant you were stingy.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Jesus links money and anxiety. How we spend money shows what we do and do not trust. We have more but are less happy than ever before. Nothing is more anxiety-producing than trying to put your identity in external things that you cannot control.
Jesus addresses this issue in his teachings on money and anxiety, calling us to focus on internal factors like connection and belonging, rather than external validation. Ultimately, dealing with money and anxiety is a heart issue, and we need to address the underlying causes of our anxiety to find true security and happiness.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR ME?
What are your “What shall we’s”? Our need for security and validation can only be met by God. He is the only one who can truly provide us with a sense of peace and assurance. Jesus tells us to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). In doing so, we will be directing our energy towards what is most important—our spiritual growth and investing in the kingdom of God. We can trust that God will provide all we need.
God cares about us and our needs. He knows what we need and He is eager to provide it. We can trust Him to take care of us and provide for us. This is why Jesus tells us not to worry, but to put our trust in God. He will provide all we need.
What promises of God do you need to cling to? The Bible is full of reminders of God's care and provision – which do you need to cling to? In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This is a reminder that even if we feel like we can't do something, God is with us and will provide.
In Romans, we are reminded that “there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.” This is a reminder that God loves us and will never leave us.
In 1 John, we are reminded that “perfect love drives out fear.” This is a reminder that God's love is perfect, and He will always be with us.
Consider the birds and the lilies. When we look around us, we can see God's care in action. He has provided us with the beauty of nature and the wonders of the world. He has created a world full of life and beauty, and He has provided us with the means to enjoy it. We can take time to appreciate the beauty of nature and the wonders of the world, and to remember that God cares for us and provides for us.
Rev. Rachel Toone joined Montreat College in July 2018 as the Dean of Spiritual Formation. She holds a B.A. in Theology from Whitworth University, an MDiv. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and she is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program at Trinity School for Ministry. Rev. Toone is an ordained teaching elder by the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. When she is not working, Rev. Toone enjoys traveling, hiking, and reading old books.
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Nicole has spent twenty years serving the local church, first in student ministry (where she’s never lost her love of a great group game) and then leading start-ups of all kinds, from leadership development to capital campaigns. She now teaches and consults with churches and ministries to strengthen their stories and cut through confusion to discover the next right steps for success.