God’s Saving Word: Wisdom
Matthew 6:16-34: Jesus teaches about how one is to act when fasting, and he describes what a life of discipleship entails—trusting in God rather than seeking to acquire wealth. Jesus reminds his followers that they are always in God’s tender care.
Teaching about Fasting
16 “And when you fast, do not put on a sad face as the hypocrites do. They neglect their appearance so that everyone will see that they are fasting. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. 17 When you go without food, wash your face and comb your hair, 18 so that others cannot know that you are fasting—only your Father, who is unseen, will know. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you.
Riches in Heaven
19 “Do not store up riches for yourselves here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and robbers break in and steal. 20 Instead, store up riches for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and robbers cannot break in and steal. 21 For your heart will always be where your riches are.
The Light of the Body
22 “The eyes are like a lamp for the body. If your eyes are sound, your whole body will be full of light; 23 but if your eyes are no good, your body will be in darkness. So if the light in you is darkness, how terribly dark it will be!
God and Possessions
24 “You cannot be a slave of two masters; you will hate one and love the other; you will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
25 “This is why I tell you: do not be worried about the food and drink you need in order to stay alive, or about clothes for your body. After all, isn’t life worth more than food? And isn’t the body worth more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds: they do not plant seeds, gather a harvest and put it in barns; yet your Father in heaven takes care of them! Aren’t you worth much more than birds? 27 Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying about it?
28 “And why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow: they do not work or make clothes for themselves. 29 But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers. 30 It is God who clothes the wild grass—grass that is here today and gone tomorrow, burned up in the oven. Won’t he be all the more sure to clothe you? What little faith you have!
31 “So do not start worrying: ‘Where will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes?’ 32 (These are the things the pagans are always concerned about.) Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. 33 Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things. 34 So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.
Today’s Key Verse: Matthew 6:20,21
[Jesus said:] “Store up riches for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and robbers cannot break in and steal. For your heart will always be where your riches are.”
In verses 16-18, Jesus teaches about fasting and once again warns his followers not to be like the hypocrites. What instructions does he give? What is your understanding of storing up “riches in heaven” that Jesus speaks of in verse 20? Reread verses 25-34. Are there things you worry about or are anxious about? Do you find what Jesus teaches to be comforting? Why or why not? How do Jesus’s teachings in this entire passage shape your identity as a disciple or follower of Jesus?
Gracious God, you call me to trust and depend on you. My identity comes through my relationship with you and not on any status that is based on material gain. May I seek after your Kingdom first, trusting in your love and care. Amen.
And now, join us in praising God that people in rural and very poor areas in Angola are receiving Bibles. About one third of the people in Angola live in poverty and lack funds to purchase Bibles. Even in worship services or listening to preaching, there were some who could not understand the biblical message. But thanks to Bible-A-Month Partners, for the first time people in Angola are receiving the Bible in their heart language, Umbundu. Thank you, Lord God, that your life-giving Word is bringing strength, hope, and comfort to many people in Angola. Amen.
Matthew 7:1-14: Jesus concludes his Sermon on the Mount and teaches about the “Golden Rule.”