Friday, 1 October 2021

Title: “What’s before ‘Seek Ye First’ ?”
By: Ps Cheng Cheung

Matthew 6: 19-34

In Matthew 6, Jesus mentions two big temptations we all face as believers that distract us and draw us away from the intimacy that we can have in our relationship with God the Father. The first temptation is to behave religiously, performing hypocritical works to receive the praise of man instead of doing them in secret in the Father’s presence. The second, very simply, is to succumb to the temptation of seeking and accumulating treasure on earth. Both distract us from what truly matters – our relationship with our heavenly Father. Coincidently, the fact that in this chapter alone, Jesus mentions the term “your (Heavenly) Father” 11 times, drives home the point that we should always seek to live our lives on a higher plane.

Have you heard someone say, “Wherever your heart is, your money will be. Invest your heart in something and you’ll put your money there. Focus on getting your heart right and then you’ll get your finances right.”? Frankly, that is what some of us think the Bible teaches. We think it says, “Where your heart is, there your treasure will be.” Right?

No. Jesus said exactly the opposite. For where your treasure is, t͟h͟e͟r͟e͟ your heart will be also…(v. 21).

This is the reality: Our direction in life follows our heart which follows our “treasures.” Where you invest your time, money, energy, and ambition will direct your heart, the control panel, the executive function of your life. You and I are more influenced by what we are holding onto, what we hold dear, what gives us security, what we treasure, than anything else.

Jesus’ point is not “You tend to put your money into things that matter to you,” but, “the possessions you own will change you so that you care more about them than about other things.” Therefore, treat with caution not only what you already own but choose carefully what your eyes (hence the reference to healthy eyes being the lamp of the body) cast their gaze upon and desire to own. For you will inevitably begin to value and protect these things once in your possession, to the potential detriment of everything else.

We may call this the “Treasure Principle,” namely, that treasure transforms. Those who invest their deepest treasure in the things of this world will find they are no longer serving God but money (v 24). That can lead to anxiety coming from the uncertainties of money (v 25-34).

In the last verse before Jesus summarizes, He sets up the tension around the lordship question, suspended, as it were, between two magnetic poles which may pull at us — two “masters.” These two “poles” are the heavenly and the earthly: that which is of God, or that which is not. Then Jesus puts it squarely to us – Y͟o͟u͟ c͟a͟n͟n͟o͟t͟ s͟e͟r͟v͟e͟ G͟o͟d͟ a͟n͟d͟ w͟e͟a͟l͟t͟h͟ (m͟a͟m͟m͟o͟n͟).

What is of particular interest in chapter 6 is the way in which Jesus defines that tension; it is a question of worry. Worry, about one’s life, or food and drink, or clothing, worry about the bottom line that comes with those things, about having enough or not having enough. This can threaten to separate us from God. Worry about money keeps us from God. This may take many forms — too much time earning, too much time managing, too much time spent on the spendable, too much fretting over what is enough and even what to do with what one has, whether I have enough for every contingency, will the market crash? But in each case worry keeps us from right relationship with our Heavenly Father.

In the face of this tension, Jesus makes an accusation: “You of little faith,” he calls the worriers. The accusation is that trust is lacking, reliance on God is taken away and held in one’s hand as one’s own.

In the context of all this, Jesus’ concluding remarks make complete sense “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life . . . But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

My Prayer today

Heavenly Father, forgive me that I have spent time on and been distracted by my treasures. Help me re-focus my energies on the things of the Kingdom.

Also, forgive me my sin of worry and of self-reliance. Help me trust You for all the details of my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen

星期五,2021年10月1日
标题:先求神的国之前是什么?
作者:张祯祥传道
翻译:陈月妃姐妹

马太福音6:19-34

在马太福音第6章中,耶稣提出了我们作为信徒所面临的两大诱惑,这两大诱惑分散了我们的注意力,使我们远离与父神的亲密及联合的关系。第一个诱惑是举止敬虔,做伪善的事来得到人的赞美,而不是在天父面前暗地里行出来。第二,非常简单,就是屈服于在地上寻找和积攒财宝的诱惑。两者都会分散我们对真正重要的事情的注意力——我们与天父的关系。巧合的是,仅在这一章中,耶稣就11次提到了“你(天上的)父”一词,这一事实使我们明白了我们应该始终寻求在更高的层面上生活。

我想分享从第19节开始到第24节结束的那组经文中的一些见解。之后,在第25节中,耶稣好像在总结祂自本章开始以来所说的一切,他说:“所以,我告诉你们……”

第21节“因为你的财宝在那里,你的心也在那里。”

你有没有听过有人说,“你的心在哪里,你的钱就在哪里。把你的心投资在某件事上,你就会把你的钱放在那里。专注的摆正你的心态,然后你的财务状况就会变好。”?坦率地说,这就是我们中的一些人认为这是圣经所教导的。我们以为它说,“你的心在那里,你的财宝也在那里。”对吗?

不,耶稣所说的恰恰相反。因为你的财宝在那里,你的心也在那里…(21节)。

这就是实际的情况:我们的生活方向跟随我们的心,我们的心跟随我们的“财宝”。你在哪里投入你的时间、金钱、精力和雄心壮志将指引你的心,那控制盘,以及你生命的执行功能。你和我更受我们所持有的东西、我们所珍视的东西、给我们安全感的东西、我们所珍爱的东西所影响。

耶稣的观点不是“你倾向于把你的钱花在对你重要的事情上”,而是“你拥有的财宝会改变你,使你更关心它们而不是其他事情。”因此,谨慎选择你拥有的东西,因为你将不可避免地开始珍视和保护这些东西,而无视其他的一切,

我们可以称之为“财宝原则”,即财宝转化。那些把他们最宝贵的财富投资于这个世界的人会发现他们不再是在事奉上帝,而是在事奉金钱(第24节)。人们会因为对金钱的不确定性而产生忧虑(25-34 节)。

在耶稣在总结之前的最后一节中,祂围绕着主权问题构建了一种紧张关系,这种紧张关系实际上是悬浮在两个磁极之间的,这两个可能吸引我们的磁极——两个“主人”。这两个“磁极”,一个是属地的,一个是属天的,那就是属神的或是不属神的。然后耶稣就直截了当地告诉我们——你们不能又事奉 神、又事奉财利(玛门)。

第六章特别有趣的是耶稣如何定义这种紧张关系;这是一个关于忧虑的问题。忧虑,忧虑一个人的生活、或饮食,或衣裳,忧虑这些东西是否足够。这可能会使我们与上帝隔绝。对金钱的忧虑会使我们与上帝隔绝。这可能有很多种形式——利用太多的时间挣钱,太多的东西要花时间管理,太多的时间花在可消费品上,为了拥有太多而苦恼,甚至忧虑如何处理自己拥有的东西,我是否有足够的能力应付每一个突发事件,市场会崩溃吗?但在每一种情况下,忧虑都使我们无法与神建立正确的关系。

面对这种紧张局势,耶稣指责说:“你们这小信的人,”祂称那些忧虑的人。指责是因为缺乏信任,不再仰赖上帝,只依靠自己。

在这一切的背景下,耶稣的结论是完全有道理的:“所以我告诉你,不要为你的生活忧虑。。。你们要先求他的国、和他的义这些东西都要加给你们了。”

今天的祷告

天父,请原谅我在我的财宝上花了太多的时间并让我分心。帮助我重新将精力集中在神国度的事情上。
还有,请原谅我的忧虑和依靠自己的罪。帮助我在生活中的所有细节上仰赖你。奉耶稣的名。阿门。