Read Matthew 6:19-24
The life of a disciple is simple, in theory, follow Christ and only Christ. If anything else takes priority in our life over Christ, we are not following Him. If we are following Him, we seek to follow His ways and everything else becomes less and less important.
In this passage, Jesus reminds his disciples that following after other things, in this case money and possessions, distracts from the Christian life. Recall Jesus’ parable of the soils in Luke 8 where the seed takes root but the weeds choke it out. Jesus is warning his disciples that when they seek other things and not Him, they too have the chance of being choked out.
Not only is letting other things come before Jesus dangerous in the life of a Christian, Jesus reminds them that it is ultimately unfruitful as well. “He who dies with the most toys still dies,” Jesus would remind today’s audience. All the things we have now may be great, but they are with us for only a fleeting moment and then they break, wear out, or become otherwise useless. However, what we do for Christ will have an eternal value as we store up wealth in heaven that will never go away.
Bonhoeffer says that “earthly goods are given to be used, not collected.” He also says, “hoarding is idolatry.” Most people of Jesus’ day were paid daily and with that money they bought food for the day. There was no saving for emergencies because there was no money leftover to save. When we hoard away selfishly and do not use what God has given us in a correct manner, we shame the one who has given us the money in the first place. When we “save for a rainy day” who are we trusting when the rainy day comes, God or the money we saved back?” When we spend thousands of dollars a year on insurance and health care, who are we trusting for our health, doctors or The Great Physician?
The life of a disciple is simple because it trusts that God will provide for their needs and will perhaps learn to live without the things that are not true needs. “Give us our daily bread” means trusting everyday that God will provide and not hoping that our bank account has enough in it to write out one more check.
This makes the life of a disciple difficult as well. It is very hard to give up control. We want to have a safety net in case God doesn’t respond the way we expect. Or maybe in case we didn’t have enough faith after all for God to answer our prayer. They key to the simple life is trusting God for what we need and storing our treasures in heaven and not on earth.