We sing a hymn titled “We Have an Anchor” that focuses on keeping our hope fixed on heaven. Maintaining focus is the key to so much in life, and Jesus in Matthew 6:16-24 gives us three sets of choices that, while they seem separate, help us focus on heaven so we can get there one day.
The first choice is of whose approval we want. Jesus speaks of fasting in Matthew 6:16-18, but the trust of the section is why you are fasting. When the hypocrites fast, they neglect their appearance, so they can make a good show of it to be seen by men. Disciples, by contrast, comb their hair and brush their teeth while they fast, so no one knows they’re fasting. Why? Because disciples fast in order to be seen by God and not by men. So, whose approval do we want, man’s or God’s?
The second choice is what do you want to value in this life? In the next few verses (vv.19-21), Jesus teaches about earthly and heavenly treasure. This is not literal treasure only, although it does include it, but a representation of the things of men and the things of God. Which do you value more? Things of this life will be burned up one day (1 Pet. 3:10). The things of God will last for eternity.
The final choice in this section is what will you give your attention to? Back in Mathew 6:22-23, Jesus speaks of good and bad eyes and the light they receive. Jesus is talking about what has your undivided attention. The KJV gets to this point when they translate “clear” in v.22 as “single.” So, what has your focus? The light (synonymous with the things God) or the dark?
The choice will be evident in a person’s life because, as Jesus said in v.24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth”