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A Society of Things



“‘For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also’” (Matthew 6:21).

In wealthy countries, where the focus is on material things, believers must strive for the right perspective on possessions.

Today’s text answers the simple but age-old question, Where is your heart? When our Lord answers the question, it is clear He is referring to all of life’s major preoccupations and investments—anything that receives most of our thinking, planning, and expenditure of energy.

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day had their hearts in the wrong places. Among their many other sins, the Pharisees were thing-oriented—covetous, greedy, avaricious, and manipulative. Matthew 6:21 is right in the middle of a portion of the Sermon on the Mount that deals with the Pharisees’ misplaced priorities regarding material possessions. The verse fits with Christ’s overall purpose in the Sermon, which was to affirm His standard of righteous living in contrast to the Pharisees’ inferior, hypocritical standard (Matt. 5:20).

Matthew 6:19-24 tells us how believers should view their luxuries and wealth. Most of us live in cultures that constantly challenge us with their emphases on materialism. We all spend some time thinking about those things, whether it be a house, a car, furniture, investment portfolios, computers, our wardrobes, or whatever. And many people become slaves to consumerism and greed. Therefore we need to deal with these issues and have a biblical viewpoint concerning the many material comforts we have.

Above all, if we want the same perspective on wealth that Jesus had, our view must far exceed that of the Pharisees with their proud, earthbound viewpoint. They were focusing all of their time and devotion on selfishly laying up worldly treasures. Theirs is not the godly standard of those who want to exemplify Christ in the midst of a materialistic society.

Suggestions for Prayer

What thoughts and activities occupy most of your extra time? Pray that they would not be merely about things, but about the things of God.

For Further Study

  • You need to have a right view of yourself before any other area of life is properly understood. Read again the familiar opening passage of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:1-12.
  • Memorize or meditate on one verse or more that ministers to a need you have.



From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.