Matthew 6: 19 – 24

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

When I read verse 19 I’m as usual unsure by what measure modern Christians interpret Jesus’s commands. Is the “Do not store up” an emphatic decree to keep no savings? Or is a little okay? How much is too much? What if you’re using the capital to generate even more money in order to pass along the additional revenue to needy causes? It seems to speak to the individual, but doesn’t acknowledge that that individual has to support themselves within the wider society. As is typical of Jesus’s sayings, his words are light on how to achieve the virtues he espouses. But as is seen in what follows in Matthew 25 to 34, when you believe that needs will magically be met by God, there’s really no need to have any grasp of basic economics.

In verse 20 there’s yet another implied promise that after death there will be a reward. It’d be an interesting answer in many times does Jesus defers payment on the promises he makes. I wonder if I can convince the tax department to take up a similar system? Zero taxes in one’s lifetime, with everything kept in arrears and dealt with as death duties.

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