Fasting & Treasures

And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites…when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face…And your Father who sees in secret will reward you…Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad…how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Matthew 6:16-24

Now, Jesus addresses fasting and laying up treasures in Heaven. Our church is currently seeking a senior pastor as our pastor of 40 years retired one year ago. As our church’s pastor search committee narrows down the candidates they have reviewed, they have asked the entire church to enter into a 21-day period of prayer and fasting. As when Jesus said regarding prayer, “when you pray,” He again uses the same wording, “when you fast.” This wording means that there is an expectation of something being named, in this case, fasting. Jesus is teaching that fasting is an expected event of Christians. Why? When we look at fasting in Scripture, we see that fasting is a way for the worshipper of God to draw closer to God in order to deepen the worshipper’s desire to seek God and His will in a given circumstance. Jesus tells the crowd that the religious leaders of their day were very public in their fasting. And, Jesus said they were “hypocrites.” Fasting must be accompanied by the heart’s desire to seek God in a closer relationship, finding God’s will in doing so. Yet, Jesus teaches that, like helping the needy, fasting is a private matter for the Christian and any public displays of fasting is not a worthy activity. Jesus adds that what the Christian does “in secret,” God, “who sees in secret,” will reward you. Then, Jesus addresses “laying up treasures in Heaven.” Scripture does teach that, at death, no earthly possessions can be taken with you. But, Jesus, here, is saying that there are “treasures” that one can accumulate in Heaven and will receive those “treasures” upon arrival in Heaven. Yet, Jesus is teaching that, again, the heart is where all important, eternal things reside. To illustrate, Jesus uses thieves and robbers, the human eye, and, masters to make His point that human life is depraved and temporary and that eternity is a final place where all humanity will go, either the eternal fires of hell, or eternal bliss of being in God’s presence. Oh, reader, if you know our great Creator, rejoice in your salvation! But, if you do not know your great Creator, seek Him while He may be found, for, after this life, there is more opportunity to decide! May our God bless all His children.

Source: S C Ball January 16, 2023


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