Kingdom Living 11: “The Sermon on the Amount”

Picture1We continue our series on Kingdom Living. In Matthew 6, Jesus continues his sermon on the mount. But this time, it is a sermon on the “amount.” The sermon on the amount is a penetrating sermon. It penetrates our very hearts. It about the issues of where your heart is focused, whether your eye is healthy or not, and who is your true master.

The sermon on the amount concerns three things—treasures, eyes, and masters. Jesus uses these three examples as additional illustrations of righteousness. In Matthew 6:1, Jesus talks about practicing your righteousness in the kingdom. He talked of righteous giving to the poor, of prayer, and of fasting. Now, Jesus deals with the righteous storing of treasures. Jesus teaches us three things in the sermon on the amount.

First, where you store your treasure shows the true center of your heart. There is parallelism in vv. 19-21. The same idea in v. 19 is repeated in v. 20.

A      Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,

  • B     where moth and rust destroy and
    • C      where thieves break in and steal (v. 19)

A1     but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,

  • B1     where neither moth nor rust destroys and
    • C1     where thieves do not break in and steal (v. 20)

The command, do not lay up treasures on earth, means that you lay up treasures in heaven. The word, “treasures” is from the Greek, thesauros, which means, “a place for storing valuables; (a) literally treasury, treasure box or chest” and “the valuables stored up.” (Friberg) The word, “treasures,” refer to both the valuables and the place for storing the valuables.

I read this interesting report after the tsunami hit Japan in 2011.

Safes are washing up along the tsunami-battered coast, and police are trying to find their owners – a unique problem in a country where many people, especially the elderly, still stash their cash at home. By one estimate, some $350 billion worth of yen doesn’t circulate. . . .

Identifying the owners of lost safes is hard enough. But it’s nearly impossible when it comes to wads of cash being found in envelopes, unmarked bags, boxes and furniture. . . .

With more than 25,000 people believed to have died in the tsunami, many safes could to go unclaimed. Under Japanese law, authorities must store found items for three months. If the owner does not appear within that time, the finder is entitled to the item, unless it contains personal identification such as an address book. If neither owner nor finder claims it, the government takes possession.”[1]

Who would like to go with me to Japan and claim some of those money?

Jesus said, do not store up treasures on earth. The words, “where moth and rust destroy,” prove that valuables on earth are never safe and secure. In those days, people treasured expensive clothes. But the moth will eat up those clothes. In those days, people treasured precious metals.[2] But rust and corrosion eat up the precious metals.

[1] Tomoko A. Hosaka, “Japan Lost Money: Safes, Cash Wash Up On Shores After Tsunami.” Cited March 8, 2015. Online: http://www. huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/10/japan-lost-money-safes-cash_n_847243. html

[2] Craig L. Blomberg, Matthew (NAC 22; ed. David S. Dockery; Nashville: Broadman, 1992), 122.

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