If the Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ manifesto about this new kingdom he is bringing, what is truly important in this new way of seeing life? Jesus answers that question with as many explanations of what is not important as he does the affirmative.
The praise of your fellow man is not top priority. Do your religious acts like tithing, prayer and fasting but if you are doing those to get praise from your neighbors and friends you have missed the point. That momentary praise is all you will get. Kingdom-people seek the praise of the Father who sees what is done without fan-fare or the spotlight (6:1-18).
The treasures of this earth are not top priority. Nice clothes get moth-eaten. Piles of coins get rusty. Houses fall apart. Cars get dented. Jewelry gets stolen. Investment portfolios crash. Educational degrees become out-of-date. Power and status are lost. Beauty fades. All these treasures broadcast to the world what is truly valuable to us, and this may not be complimentary. Kingdom-people store up treasures in heaven. These will never fade away, lose value or be lost. And don’t tell yourself you can actually have them both; you can’t (6:19-24).
The needs of this world are not top priority either. Food, drink and clothing might be at the top of Abraham Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs,” and we do need these, but we don’t get them by seeking after them. God knows what we need and he will provide. The worry that comes from a preoccupation with these physical needs will only detract from our occupation of advancing the Kingdom. Kingdom people focus with faith on the needs of the world to come (6:25-34).
So don’t worry away with your “What’ll we eat?” and “What’ll we drink?” and “What’ll we wear?” Those are all the kinds of things the Gentiles fuss about, and your heavenly father knows you need them all. Instead, make your top priority God’s kingdom and his way of life, and all these things will be given to you as well. (6:31-33)