Matthew 6:19-24 (Treasures in Heaven; The Evil Eye of the Grudging Giver)

Mat 6:19-21  What does it mean to “lay up” treasures upon earth?  See Rom 2:5, 1Co 16:2, 2Co 12:14, Luk 12:21 and context, and note: the Greek word used is the verbal form of the word treasure, thus literally “treasure not to you treasures…”.  What sort of treasures do people treasure up for themselves today?  For what practical reason that is to our own benefit does Jesus say in Mat 6:19 that we ought not to store up treasures on earth?  What is the manner in which moth and rust destroy that deceives those who do not have an eternal perspective that the things they value will always be there for them?  In what way do “moth and rust” destroy the sort of treasures that people lay up today?  Besides literally, in what way do thieves break in and steal the treasures that people treasure up for themselves today?  Think tech bubble, Enron, housing bubble, “expected family contribution” for education, health care price for those with insurance versus the price for those without insurance, etc….  For true and eternal security, where does Jesus say we should store up our treasures?  What does Mat 6:20 teach us about what heaven is like?  What does it mean practically to store up treasures in heaven as opposed to storing them up on earth?  Cf. 1Ti 6:17-19.  Are we to understand these verses to mean that it is wrong to store up any kind of wealth on this earth to provide for the future needs of ourselves or for our children?  See Pro 6:6-12, 13:22, 2Co 12:14.

Mat 6:22-24  What does it mean for one’s eye to be “clear” in a physical sense?  In a moral sense?  Note: the Greek word used means lit. single, undivided, sincere, then open and aboveboard, honest, with no hidden agendas (Gingrich lexicon).  In a physical sense, what is the importance of having an eye that is clear so as to be able to correctly perceive one’s surroundings and not stumble?  In a moral sense?  In Mat 6:23 Jesus contrasts an eye that is clear with an eye that is bad, or more literally, evil (as the Greek word is usually translated); what does it mean to have an evil eye?  See Pro 23:6 and 28:22 in the KJV, NAS, and NET translations[1]; see also Deut 28:54-57 in the KJV[2], Mat 20:15 and Mar 7:21-22 and text notes[3], Pro 11:25[4], as well as Sirach 14:8-10, 18:18, and 37:11[5] from the apocrypha.  In this light and in the present context, what does Jesus mean for one’s eye to be clear in a moral sense?  How does Paul’s teaching in 1Ti 6:17-19 reflect this understanding?  What do Mat 6:22-23 teach us about the importance of being generous, and the danger of being selfish and stingy or a grudging giver?  Is the “light” that is in us darkness because our “eye” is dimmed by grudging giving?  What do Mat 6:22-23 teach us about the sharpness of the sword of God’s word and its ability “judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12)?  Recall that a “clear” eye is one that is single, sincere, and undivided; how does this contrast with an evil eye?  See Mat 6:24.  In what way is an evil eye divided?  What do Jesus’ words in Mat 6:24 teach us about the impossibility of a divided allegiance?  In what way is a person with an evil eye deceived in this regard?  What is mammon?  Note: mammon is the Aramaic term for wealth or possessions; the NAS updated version translates this as wealth, the NET as money, the NIV as Money (i.e., personified as an object of worship).  Does Mat 6:24 mean that people who are rich cannot serve God?  See again 1Ti 6:17-19, but also Mat 19:21-26 for the difficulty of such.

 


1. KJV Proverbs 23:6 Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: NAS Proverbs 23:6 Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, Or desire his delicacies; NET Proverbs 23:6 Do not eat the food of a stingy person,do not crave his delicacies;

NAS Proverbs 28:22 A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth, And does not know that want will come upon him. KJV Proverbs 28:22 He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him. NET Proverbs 28:22 The stingy person hastens after riches and does not know that poverty will overtake him.

2. KJV Deuteronomy 28:54-57  54 So that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he shall leave:  55 So that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat: because he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates.  56 The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter,  57 And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates.

3. NAS Matthew 20:15 ‘Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious (lit. evil) because I am generous?’

NAS Mark 7:21 “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy (lit., an evil eye), slander, pride and foolishness.

4. NAS Proverbs 11:25 The generous (LXX = a`plh/, same Greek word used for “clear” here in Mat 6:22) man will be prosperous, And he who waters will himself be watered.

5. NRS Sirach 14:8-10 The miser is an evil person; he turns away and disregards people.  The eye of the greedy person is not satisfied with his share; greedy (ponhra. = evil) injustice withers the soul.  A miser (ovfqalmo.j ponhro.j, evil eye) begrudges bread, and it is lacking at his table.  NRS Sirach 18:18 A fool is ungracious and abusive, and the gift of a grudging giver makes the eyes dimNRS Sirach 37:11 Do not consult with a woman about her rival or with a coward about war, with a merchant about business or with a buyer about selling, with a miser about generosityor with the merciless about kindness, with an idler about any work or with a seasonal laborer about completing his work, with a lazy servant about a big task — pay no attention to any advice they give.

 

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