Consider a series of five important themes that emerge from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount.
1. Stop letting obsessive worry about material needs overwhelm us.
Doing so demonstrates lack of trust in God (“little faiths,” Matt. 6:30; Luke 12:28). Through such paralyzing anxiety we become enslaved to money (Matt. 6:24–25) and act like those outside God’s family.
2. Grow our trust in God’s provision for material needs.
Nature offers a daily reminder: if God provides food for birds and beauty for flowers, God can provide for his children, who are more valuable to him (Matt. 6:26; Luke 12:26). Trusting in God frees us to pursue God’s kingdom as a number one priority (Matt. 6:33; Luke 12:31).
3. Be thankful to God for past provision of material needs.
God already knows and cares about our material needs (Matt. 6:32; Luke 12:30).
4. Manage wisely the finances God entrusts to our care, with an eye on the future.
Jesus commands, “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matt. 6:20), giving our uppermost attention and ambitions to what lasts for eternity. Jesus commands us to become “faithful and wise manager[s]” (Luke 12:42, 16:10–12). At death, we’ll give an account for our use of God’s material resources on loan to us, as illustrated in two parables (Matt. 25:14–30; Luke 19:11–27; cf. Matt. 12:36–37). To give a good account requires wise planning.
5. Give generously to the needy from the material resources on loan from God.
“Sell your possessions and give to the poor” (Luke 12:33; Matt. 6:2–4). Jesus provides a basis for our giving now: “‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom’” (Luke 12:32). With such a grand inheritance guaranteed—the new heavens and new earth involving both immaterial and material benefits—we can grow trust in God now for our own material needs and increase our generous sharing with the needy.
Excerpted from Living into the Life of Jesus, by Dr. Klaus Issler (ThM, 1977), published by IVP Books. Read the entire chapter.