With the creation of every material thing, God said, “It is good.” This ranged from the light to the lizard, the gourd to gold. All of which God had created was good, not only in design but also in usefulness. Precious metals, though they are easily an object of temptation, were made “good”. The problem is that man has over time become placed too much confidence and love into these inanimate, decaying tools.
Scripture tells us, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (1 Tim 6:10) It is not money that is the root, but a love of money. It is not money that makes it easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, compared to a rich man going to heaven, but love, desire, and lordship. That is why in the section known as the Sermon On The Mount (Matt 5-7) Jesus sets aside a portion of His sermon to discuss money. As you recall, Jesus is teaching righteousness that permits entrance into heaven (Matt 5:20), it would be one that is greater than the religious leaders of the day. These religious leaders had a blight against them that could be described as a heart issue. They practiced good works selfishly, and they loved good things for selfish gain - Luke 16:14, they were, “lovers of money.”
One of the recurring issues of the Pharisees was their hypocrisy. As actors, they divided life into, what they believed to be, two separate but equal categories: spiritual and material. In Matthew 6:19-24, Jesus teaches us that true righteousness makes no such distinctions, but keeps both parts joined together. In other words, the material and spiritual were not conflicting or separate but were, in fact, equal and both required righteousness. Prudence in one area, spiritual, did not make up for mistakes in the other, material.
As Jesus speaks about material things and our attitudes towards them, He indicates that our attitudes are determined by three different choices, all of which are ours to make.
First, there is the Choice of Loves (6:19-21). Two choices are presented, spiritual and material things. Laying up treasure on earth comes with depreciation, decay, and dangers. There are certain risks and rules that make this sort of treasure unworthy of our foremost desire. Spiritual treasures, however, come with certainty (1 Pet 1:4-5), guarantee (Mk 10:29-30), and satisfaction - seeing as these are forever, useful, and rest ensuring. These both provide a benchmark in determining where our affections are set, whether in this world or in the realm above (Col 3:1-2). Here the choice of loves is ours, and it is evident that the righteous love the things which are above.
Second, there is the Choice of Looks (6:22-23). Two choices are presented, a good eye and a bad eye. The good eye beholds the treasured things of heaven, meanwhile, the bad eye beholds the treasured things of this world. The eye indicates where our heart's desire is placed. Here we are reminded of the stark difference between Achan (Jos 7:21 - physical) and Ezra (Ezra 7:10 - spiritual). The righteous are those who have a good, healthy eye.
Third, there is the Choice of Lords (6:24). Two choices are presented, serving money and serving God. Serving money assures emptiness, serving God assured eternal things. Making money your master will be unsatisfying, vain, restless, difficult, uncertain, and will lead to depravity (Eccl 5:10-17). Serving God will be satisfying (Matt 5:6), profitable (1 Tim 4:8), allow rest (Matt 11:28-30), have certainty (2 Tim 1:12) and lead to life (Jn 8:12).
The choice is yours. Will you desire the better portion?