Commentary on Matthew 6:19-23
This short passage contains two related teachings.
The first may seen as a commentary on the petition in the Lord’s Prayer, ‘Give us this day our daily bread’. It is a teaching about the things which are really valuable, which really count. We live in a highly materialistic world where a very large number of people seem to believe that material wealth is the solution to every problem. There is nothing that money cannot buy, no problem it cannot solve. This belief prevails even though every day it is shown to be false.
Jesus urges us to put our trust and our security in something less perishable, something more lasting. To ‘store up treasure in heaven’ is not just to pile up a whole lot of ‘good works’ which will be to our credit in the next life. That credit too can be very quickly lost. It is much more a question of growing more and more into the kind of person who is steeped in the values and the outlook of the Gospel. It is less a question of doing than of becoming. We also build treasure by what we give away, by sharing with others whatever gifts we have, especially those most in need. “As long as you do it the least of my brothers you do it to me.”
And, as Jesus so wisely says, ‘where your treasure is, there will your heart be also’. Obviously, the question for me to ask today is: Where is my treasure? What do I value most in life? And how do I reveal that in the way I live?
And that brings us to the second part.
“The lamp of the body is the eye.” That is to say, what I see with my inner eye determines everything else about my life. “If your eye, that is, your vision is sound, your whole body, that is, your whole being will be filled with light. But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be all darkness.”
It is that light which we need in order to have a clear vision of what is most valuable in our lives. The person who cannot see beyond money, status, power, or fame is truly in darkness. Life is not about getting these things. Life is about who we are; it is about love and relationships.
Let us pray today for vision and light and to be able to discern what are the real treasures, the most precious things of human living. Our Christian life is above all a vision of life.