Matthew 6:22-23 - Having a Good Eye
The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.Matthew 6:22-23
Ever been in pitch darkness? Maybe you've gone spelunking in a deep cave. Our family once was far into an old lava tube in Oregon. The darkness was quite thick. As sinners, we can live life like that: in utter darkness. Or we can live in the light. And in the light, of course, all of life opens up again.
It all depends on our eyes, says our Lord in this little verse: "The eye is the lamp of the body." What you focus on, what you see, makes the difference between your whole body — your whole life — being filled with darkness or light. What's a good eye, then? There's an unusual Greek word here, which good translations catch. It's a word that speaks of sincerity, devotion, and also generosity. The opposite – a bad or evil eye – that's a biblical way of talking about being greedy or covetous.
Do we have good eyes? A person with good eyes sees where people are hurting. He sees where there is need. He wants to bless others, help them in their struggles and difficulties. A person with good eyes gives: gives from his wallet, his time, gives of himself. He considers others, how he can encourage them (Hebrews 10:25). But those with bad eyes, evil eyes, are always considering things, what they can get. Their eyes are on riches and wealth.
And this eyesight affects your whole life. Your perspective is much more serious than you think: "The eye is the lamp of the body."
In Proverbs 11:25 we read, "A generous man will prosper. And he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."
The way to find life for yourself is to live for others. The way to find blessing is to be a blessing. But with bad eyes, when you are focused on your own wants and desires, your whole life is plunged into darkness. Where there is selfish ambition, everything in life is tainted and distorted. You will not see correctly your wife, your children, yourself – anyone, in fact.
How do we work on good eyesight? How can we begin to see life the way it ought to be lived? It begins by first seeing the Lord Jesus Christ. We need to have our eyes focused on him, in commitment, in loyalty. That's an aspect of this Greek word too: being single minded. Christ shows the way for us to live. He gave himself for us. He saw the needs of those around him and he lived, he died, to meet them. If we do not fix our eyes on him, we live in darkness. But if we genuinely give ourselves to him in love and loyalty, our whole body will be full of light.
We also need to see his kingdom: the place where Easter is a reality, where life is restored again, in righteousness, joy, and peace. That is what Christ has come to bring. And seeing that means seeing life again.
When we look at life, what do we see? Do we simply see places to have fun? Places to make a buck? Places to stoke our own pride, our ego? Or do we see the kingdom of God that claims our work and free time, our marriages and our ministries? Do we see that the time has come for all of life to be taken up in service of Christ, to the glory of God?
"Kingdom work" is broader than just giving money to various noble causes. Marriages are to be kingdom marriages, where the glory of Christ and his church is displayed. Our work is to be kingdom work, done to God's glory, reflecting who he is, in his truth, his faithfulness, and his grace. As Christians, we must also have a different way of doing business. Here, too, we are to love our enemies, to think of others more highly than ourselves, to practice servanthood and self-denial, to show grace – as Christ has shown to us.
If we do not see the kingdom of God, if we only see the things of earth, then we live in darkness. We are ignorant of that immense reality of the kingdom that Christ brings, and that is already here around us. But if we seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, instead of darkness there will be light for all we do.