In Matthew 6:16–34, Christ shows the either/or nature of discipleship. It is not possible for one to be obsessed with outward appearance while seeking an inward transformation. A person who merely seeks to look the part of a Christian will only rise to the level of hypocrisy. Additionally, a person who seeks to lay up treasures on earth cannot also lay up treasures in heaven. This doesn’t mean that rich people cannot invest in heaven’s economy. Rather, it means that where your treasure is, your heart will follow. The value of a treasure is determined not so much by the material it is composed of but by the quality of sacrifice a person is willing to make in order to obtain it. According to Jesus, we cannot have our affections set on things of the earth if we wish to have them set on things above.
The apex of Christ’s teaching revolves around worry. “Worry is blind and cannot discern the future, but Jesus sees the end from the beginning. In every difficulty He has a way prepared to bring relief. . . . Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service of God supreme will find perplexities vanish and a plan path before their feet” (The Ministry of Healing, 481).
Worry is also something that the Gentiles do. It is unnecessary because what we ask of God, He already does for animals that are less valuable than us—and He does it without their asking. Finally, worrying is irrational. We accomplish nothing worthwhile by worrying. Our problems still remain unanswered, and it only shows how weak our trust in God really is.
Instead, Jesus says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matt. 6:33, 34).
The revolution that Christ seeks to establish takes place in the heart of a person before it takes place in a community of believers. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declares that a person cannot be a citizen of heaven if they are a citizen of earth, for these two kingdoms are antagonistic to each other. The only option for us is to choose to be God’s ambassadors—promoters of a better kingdom established solely upon faith in the character of His Son.