The eye is the lamp.

In Lent 23 by Bruce Logue1 Comment

Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!”

Matthew 6:22-23

The Sermon on the Mount contains a long section regarding the disciple’s relationship to the world and to wealth, beginning in 6:19-34. This saying about the eye as the lamp is, therefore, about wealth and how we look at it. “The eye is the lamp.”

Jesus was saying that the thing you focus on is the thing that will inform your life. That is why Jesus called the eye a lamp. Of course, “eye” is metaphorical for where one’s heart directs attention. What one dwells on, plans for, and dreams about. It may be good or bad, so it is essential that disciples are conscious of what they take into their lives and how it may be affecting them.

The Bible warns about this in other places as well. Paul warned in Romans 1:21 of those who can plainly see the truth, but who “became futile in their thinking” and whose “senseless minds were darkened.” Psalm 1:1-2 where the Psalmist pronounces a blessing on those who “meditate day and night” on God’s law. Paul warned the Corinthian church that “the god of this world has blinded the eyes of unbelievers,” 2 Corinthians 4:4.

In the case of wealth, one’s eyes pay attention to the human advantages that wealth brings. This can result in the individual giving their whole life to the accumulation of wealth rather than seeing wealth as a way to accomplish God’s work. One way of looking makes one’s vision darkened like cataracts. The other brightens vision and makes God’s work appear in every context.

You could say that blindness occurs in other ways as well.” This occurs when associations, goals, methods, and focus are all used in service to something other than God. Jesus said that this is symptomatic of unhealthiness in how one sees.

Jesus warns his listeners about the danger that the pursuit of wealth brings. Those who believe in Creation’s God will find the appetite for the god of wealth a hard thing to resist. But Jesus reminds us, “You cannot serve two masters.”

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, hallowed and majestic is your name and worthy of our worship. Help us to not be lured away from you by other attractions, in this case, wealth. May we refocus our attention so that we look at you and follow you only. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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