Straight Talk About Your Money

By Dr. Robert Jeffress

Money and worry are traveling companions. Those who have a lot of money worry about losing it, and those who have little money worry about getting more. Jesus explained that when it comes to wealth and worry—we have a choice to make.

In Matthew 6:19–34, Jesus laid out this choice using three stark contrasts. We must choose either treasures in heaven or treasures on earth, eyes that see clearly or eyes that don’t see, and God as our master or money as our master.

1. The Biblical View Of Wealth

Money is not evil. Having money doesn’t make you a sinner, and not having money doesn’t make you a saint. Some of the godliest men and women I know are people of means, as were some in the Bible, such as Abraham, David, Solomon, Esther, and Lydia. And I know many godly individuals who are far from being considered rich, as were some in the Bible, such as Caleb, Ruth, John the Baptist, and Peter.

2. Two Treasuries: Heaven or Earth? (Matthew 6:19-20)

Jesus began His talk on wealth and worry with a contrast when he said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” Now, it’s clear He was talking about those who love the things of earth. It’s foolish to invest your time, energy, and resources to chase temporal wealth instead of eternal wealth. Here’s why.

This reminds me of the story about an old miser who called together his pastor, lawyer, and doctor just before his death. He said to them, “It’s been said you can’t take it with you when you go. Here are three envelopes containing $100,000 each. As they lower my casket into the grave, I want each of you to throw in those envelopes.”

Each agreed and did so when the day came. As the three men walked away from the gravesite, the pastor said, “Gentlemen, I have a confession to make. I didn’t throw all the money into the grave. The church has needs, so I took $50,000 and only threw in half.” The doctor, feeling guilty, also confessed, “Well, I’m in the process of building a clinic, so I took out $75,000 and only threw in $25,000.”

The lawyer looked at his two friends with astonishment. “I’m ashamed of you two,” he said. “I threw in 100 percent as requested. I pulled out all the cash for myself and wrote him a personal check for the full amount and threw it in the grave.”

The truth is you CAN’T take it with you—every possession, every dollar, every uncashed check will be left behind.

Since you can’t take it with you, what did Jesus advise? In verse 20, He says, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal.” Eternal treasures are resistant to bugs, rust, rats, thieves, and death. Not one dollar invested in God’s work has ever been lost. These rewards don’t expire when we die because they are like a constant annuity that keeps paying us throughout eternity. When you invest your money in God’s kingdom, you will be surprised how much your interests shift from the temporal to the eternal. 

3. Two Eyes: Clear or Cloudy? (Matthew 6:22-23)

Jesus was bringing into sharper focus what our priorities are. We should see earthly riches as false and fleeting. If we don’t look at money this way, we can become greedy, envious, and selfish. In other words, we trade the eternal for the temporal and can become spiritually and morally blind.

4. Two Masters: God or Money? (Matthew 6:24)

Jesus said we have to choose either God or money. We can’t choose both or give a percentage between the two. The choice we have to make is all or nothing.

5. Two Responses: Worry or Peace? (Matthew 6:25-34)

God provides for His creatures—small and great. However, it doesn’t mean we can kick back with a tall glass of lemonade and expect God to bring home our bacon and fry it up. We have work to do, just as birds have to gather food. But it doesn’t mean we should worry.

We are to pray that God’s name is hallowed and glorified by the way we live. When we are anxious about money and worried about our future, that doesn’t attract people to the God we claim to serve.

Matthew 6:11 says, “Give us this day our daily bread.” We do not pray for tomorrow’s bread or next week’s bread. God’s grace is enough for today, and His grace will be sufficient for tomorrow. Therefore, we must learn to live one day at a time.

6. The Cure For Worries About Wealth (Matthew 6:33-34)

  • First Things First (Matthew 6:33)
    • Seek to glorify God in your life. 
    • Seek God’s governance over your life. 
    • Seek God’s protection for your life.  
  • Live In The Present (Matthew 6:34)

Whatever you’re concerned about, don’t leave God out of the equation. The root cause of worrying is calculating your situation without God. Don’t forget you have a heavenly Father who made you, who loves you, who sent His Son to die for you, and who wants to spend a whole eternity with you. God not only cares about your needs, but He can do far more than anything you can imagine.


Full Passage: Matthew 6:19-34