19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.
23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
lay (vs.19 and 20) — a form of the same word as that translated “treasures” (vs.19-20) — “treasure not treasures”
treasures (vs.19-20) — There is a peculiar quality in the Greek word which is not suggested by our word “treasure.” Very literally the idea is to place something horizontally. There are other Greek words which mean to place something perpendicularly. What was meant by placing horizontally? To place in a passive condition, as the word which indicates to place something perpendicularly means putting it in an active relationship. This word means to lay something aside horizontally — that is, to store something up, to keep it; not to place something perpendicularly, ready for activity and work, but to hoard it. — Morgan, page 64.
good (v.22) = single, unified — sees everything true — focused on things of heaven
bad (v.23) = out of order — focused on things of earth
mammon (v.24) = riches, treasure
The Jewish philosophy toward money was expressed in their statement, “Whom the Lord loveth, He maketh rich.” In Deuteronomy 28 God promised that He would bless the people materially if they walked in obedience to the word of God, and He also promised to discipline them by reducing them to want and poverty if they disobeyed. The Jews thought riches were a sure sign of God’s pleasure and blessing. In Christ’s day their highest goal in life was to accumulate material wealth. But Christ taught that material goals may be lost to thieves, moths, or rust. Thus what is material is temporary, not permanent. On the other hand, one may store up in heaven treasure that is eternal and permanent. In accumulating treasure there is the danger that one will love what is accumulated. It follows that what is loved will enslave the person. — Pentecost, page 184.
What Pentecost doesn’t mention, but should, is that the promises made in Deuteronomy 28 were made to the entire nation, not individuals, and that they apply to the period of the law. Christ, in this sermon, however, was speaking of the period of the kingdom and preparing His disciples for the way they should live in preparation for it. Of course, during the kingdom itself, the nation will be blessed because their focus will be on Christ because the law will be written on their hearts.
We must not lose sight here of its Jewish application. When our Lord sent forth His disciples in the tenth chapter to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom He gave them instructions how they should go about, depending in all things upon their Father in heaven. The disciples thus sent forth with the preaching of the Kingdom Gospel are the types of another Jewish remnant which is to preach once more in a future day the same Gospel, “The Kingdom of the heavens has drawn nigh.” — Gaebelein, pages 144-145.
True, but the basic principle applies under the reign of grace.
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:1-3)
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness (1 Timothy 6:9-11).
Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life (1 Timothy 6:17-19).