I love the Sermon on the Mount as recorded in Matthew 5-7.  There isn’t much in this sermon that is difficult to understand but a whole ton of things that are difficult to live up to.  If one simply focused on the seven characteristics described at the beginning of the sermon in the beatitudes they would be challenged deeply just trying to maintain the attitudes mentioned.  But I want to focus on two verses in the middle of the sermon that are difficult to understand and therefore difficult to apply correctly.  It is in Matthew 6:22-23.  “The eye is the lamp of the body.  So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.  If then the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”

As always in looking at a Scripture the best thing to do first is to look at the context in which a passage is found.  In this text it is certain the surrounding verses help to see the focus in mind.  Jesus had just challenged us not to lay up for ourselves treasures on the earth because moth and rust can corrupt them and thieves can break in and steal what we have.  instead he said to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven where there isn’t a problem with moth, rust or thieves.  “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  The verse just after the verses about the eyes is Jesus challenge to us that no one can serve two masters.  He will either love the one and hate the other or hold to the one and despise the other.  “You cannot serve God and money.”  So, obviously the topic involved in the discussion is about money and our attitude toward money.  If our longing in life is to have treasures on this earth then our heart will be focused on this earth.  We cannot have both Jesus and money as the Lord and Master of our lives.  One will exclude the other.  So if we want our heart to be on Jesus and serving him we must make him Lord and ruler of our lives and set our heart on treasures in heaven.

But how does this relate to our eyes and them being healthy.  While our body is made up of multitudes of parts we only have one part that sees.  Our eyes serve the function of seeing for the entire body.  So if we are to have a mental image of anything there must be some vision of how it looks or what it looks like.  Imagine what it would be like to be born blind and never have a mental image of what you look like or what your mother, dad or siblings look like.  Does the brain somehow compensate and give you some image to focus on?  You could certainly begin to get some ideas from feeling of another person or thing.  But that would certainly be limited.

But Jesus point wasn’t so much about the physical eyes as our spiritual eyes.  Just as not being able to see leaves the body in darkness when our spiritual eyes are darkened by the reality that all we seem to focus on is something that is filthy, harmful, destructive and adversarial.  Plenty of people have physically healthy eyes that would test out to be 20/20 vision, but whose spiritual vision is as darkened and filthy as can be.  In Titus 1:15-16 Paul wrote, “To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works.  They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.”

Have you ever had a light in your home that just seemed to stop giving out the light needed even though it isn’t shot?  Sometimes when you notice how dim a light has become the problem is the cover over the light.  It has become filthy and the light just isn’t able to get through all the filth so the light becomes dim.  Sometimes there is an electrical problem and the energy or electrical force isn’t getting through to the light to make it bright.

Just as our eyes provide the light to our body so that all that it sees comes through the eyes, so our heart, our thinking provides the light to the soul.  But if our mind is so covered with filth that nothing bright can make it through then our entire body becomes darkened to the degree that we just can’t see anything good, pure or holy.  Every person we meet looks to us like either an immoral person or a crook of some kind that is trying hard to do us harm.

But here is the point Jesus was making that is so important for us.  If our mind and thinking become so focused on things, stuff, money and possessions that everything we see fits somehow into that mindset our whole body becomes darkened.  Money and things are fine tools but lousy gods.  They may bless us if kept in their proper place.  But there is only room for one Lord and Master in your life.  If money has that spot there is no room left for Jesus to serve as your king.  Then darkness prevails.

About leoninlittlerock

Preaching minister for Central church of Christ in Little Rock. Author of over 20 books including: When a Loved one Dies, Spiritual Development, Skid Marks on the Family Drive, Challenges in the church, To Know Christ and A Drink of Living Water.
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1 Response to HEALTHY EYES

  1. Marshall says:

    If we store up stuff, stuff will eventually store us up…


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