“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 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!
24 “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)
Recognition. Prestige. Accolades. All things money might bring us. What is does NOT bring us, however, is the treasure of heaven.
If we “Can’t take it with us,” why do you think people spend as much time and effort as they do trying to gain wealth and possessions?
Someone once said that our calendars and checkbooks tell us our priorities. Where are, in the words of Matthew, your treasures? Where is your heart?
What are ways you can be focused on serving God more than your money or possessions?
As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”
34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him. (Matthew 20:29–34, NIV)
Not sure what to pray today? How about this: Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!
Matthew does not tell us, but what do you think these two blind men knew about Jesus prior to his walking by where they were seated?
Why do we so often dismiss those who are seeking help from Jesus, or those who are a “distraction” in the ways they ask for help?
Why do you think Jesus asks these two what they want him to do? What was he trying to get from them–surely he knew they wanted to have their sight restored, right?
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13–16, NIV)
Like salt and light, what ways are you bringing change into the world around you?
Why do people use salt? In what ways do you sense your life “seasons” those around you for God?
How have you seen a little bit of light, that is, just a small act of kindness or love for someone else, change them in big, powerful, and perhaps even unimaginable ways?
How can you shine your light on others today?
When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment. (Matthew 8:5–13, NIV)
A Roman soldier would have been the last person people would have thought should be commended for his faith in God. Often times the people most unlikely to be drawn to Jesus are the first to actually come to him, which says a whole lot about the appeal of Jesus and quite a bit about our assumptions of what it takes to have faith.
Why do you think this centurion turned to Jesus for help with his servant?
In what ways do the assumptions of this soldier tell us about what it means to have faith, especially for those who assume to have faith perfected?
How can we have faith that looks more like that of this centurion?
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6.25-34, NIV)
“Although very difficult to do, we should not worry about all of the things we find so important to obtain. God takes care of us!”
What are the things you tend to worry about most often? Why do you think this is the case?
Why do you think we are so prone to feel like we must take care of our own needs, versus relying on someone else to help us out?
How can we work to be more confident in the love of God and his provisions for us?
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6.1-4, NIV)
While God is a proponent of giving to those in need, he also wants us to give in an appropriate manner. While receiving accolades for our giving may be self-satisfying, it’s not why we give.
Why do you think it is so easy for people to want to give in such a way as to receive some sort of credit or accolade for their giving?
What is the reward Jesus understands you will receive when you give to those in need (in contrast to public recognition)?
Try to give someone something this week in such a way as so they will never find out who gave the gift to them.
“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of those little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” (Matthew 10.42, NIV)
I love this passage because it reminds me that our service to God is not always the big, most noticed events. At times, it is simply the small things we do for others that matter the most.
At the end of your life what sort of things would like to be able to say you have done for God? How many of these things are big things? How many of them small, yet meaningful ones? Why would you say these things are important to you?
How comforting is it to you to know the things you do, big-to-small, are noticed by God?
How have you given a cup of cold water to someone today?