Sticky Fingers, Sticky Hearts

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), October 3

imagesNothing dispels a religious crowd more quickly than a message about prayer or money. Both testify of a person’s dependance upon and trust in our Heavenly Father.

Jesus’ sample prayer includes a recognition of man’s dependance upon the Father for daily needs, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Mt. 6:11). It is on the foundation of man’s dependance on our Heavenly Father that Jesus teaches the following truths about investments and the heart:

  • Jesus acknowledges man’s quest for treasures—“lay up for yourselves treasures” (6:19-20). Every man since the Fall searches for value and measures his value or finds validation by his possessions. All people have sticky fingers and sticky hearts.
  • The eyes, heart and pockets of men are naturally possessive and earth-bound. Jesus therefore urges His followers to think soberly about their earthly possessions. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth” (6:19, emphasis added). Every man since the Fall naturally invests in what can’t really satisfy.
  • Possessions have a short shelf life and an expiry date—“where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal” (6:19). Insects and time damage and destroy, while nothing is invulnerable or secure to the clever and determined thief.
  • The eternal, though invisible, is more real than the visible and is easily missed by the uninitiated. Therefore, Jesus instructs His followers to invest in the eternal: “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (6:20, emphasis added). In other words, Jesus urges His followers to send their investments on ahead!
    Man’s heart cannot hold both earthly and heavenly treasures simultaneously—“No man 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” (6:24).
  • Worry is a symptom of laying up treasures on earth—of independence and unbelief. The request, “Give us this day our daily bread” (6:11), keeps the heart and mind on the “Who” of provision instead of the “How” and the “How much” of provision.

Possessions possess the hearts of the hands that hold them. Prayer and dependance upon the Father are the weapons that fight against sticky fingers and sticky hearts.

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Mt. 6:5-7:29; Lk. 6:37-49):
How do the two men in Jesus’ illustration regarding prayer differ in their view of prayer, God and of themselves? What does this reveal about authenticity and the Gospel message?
Jesus uses a number of contrasts throughout His teachings. What contrasts are evident in today’s reading? What does this reveal about effective teaching?