Verse of the Day – Matthew 6:22-23
The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Daily Scripture ReadingMatthew 20

Devotional Thoughts
In this text from the Sermon on the Mount Jesus has been giving instructions about our attitudes and relationships with wealth. His teaching stands in stark contrast to the so-called health and wealth gospel we have become so familiar with these days. Jesus is clear, the things of this earth do not really matter! Our true treasure, the things we really value should be things that are eternal, things that we have laid up in heaven.

We seem to spend so much time in the pursuit of material things and comfort. Truly what we often live in the midst of all the wealth and luxury around us having so much and yet wanting so much more. It is never enough. The lessons of stewardship are so vital for the church today. Where are our hearts? Where do we spend our time and money? Where are our energies expended? Are we pursuing pleasure? Self fulfillment? Or are we sacrificially serving the church and the world around us?

Interestingly, as Jesus tells us about wealth and treasures and priorities, we see in Matt 6:19-21 that we are indeed to lay up treasures in heaven and we are told how to know where our heart really is. If we move down through the text to Matt 6:24, we find His statement that no man can serve two masters – we cannot serve God and money, or material wealth. I plan to address verse 24 later this week, but before that I want to seek to understand why in the middle of this talk about wealth and stewardship we find verses 22-23. There Jesus tells us:

The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Why talk about our eyes in the middle of talking about wealth, stewardship, and worry? Let us see what He says and His meaning will become plain in the context.

He says that the eye is the lamp of the body. The way we perceive the world around us through sight depends upon our eyes. If our eyes are good then we will be able to see. If they are bad, damaged, or weak then we will not be able to see.

Often the Bible speaks about our eyes to denote discernment or understanding. In Genesis we find the original temptation to sin offered to Eve included this phrase, “God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Satan tempted her. He appealed to the lust of her eyes in fact, telling her that the fruit was pleasant to look at. He appealed to the lust of the flesh by telling her it was good for food. And he appealed to the pride of life by telling her that if she would only eat the fruit she would be able to see things as God sees them. Her eyes would be open and she would know the difference between good and evil.

The temptation here is not so much seeing the difference between good and evil. Adam and Eve had been instructed in what was right and what was wrong. They had not experienced sin yet, and so experientially speaking they did not know the difference. But they did know right from wrong. No, the temptation here was the temptation that had lead to the very first sin, when Satan decided that he wanted to be just like God (Isaiah 14:14). For this pride he sinned and fell. So too did Adam and Eve, as they fell for the lie and decided that they wanted their eyes to be opened – to be like God in their perspective.

The sad reality is that sin leads to the eye being shut to the truth. Adam and Eve fell into darkness and depravity. Now their eyes were bad. They could not see as God sees. They lost the right perspective. They died spiritually and wrecked all of creation and their descendents with their sin.

So we see that if our eyes are good we can see, we have a right perspective, we can discern the truth and obey the truth. If our eyes are bad though we are in darkness. We cannot find our way around. We are lost. So in the context, our eyes serve to tell us how we have set our priorities and whether or not we are laying up for ourselves treasure in heaven instead of on the earth.

As we move through these verses the next few days we will see what makes the difference between good eyes and bad. And we will see if there is a way to examine our eyes, to know that we have the right perspective and are relating correctly to the Word and to wealth. We will also see what we can do to correct our vision if we find it deficient in matters of truth and right living.

Until then, remember today that Jesus tells us that the way we look at the world around us is important. How do we view wealth? How do we view others? How do we view ourselves? Our priorities tell us much about the way we see things. Where are you spending your time, money, and energy? Do you need an eye exam?

Links for Further Study
(links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)

Losing the Will to Discern by John MacArthur
Light for Them that Sit in Darkness by John Bunyan

Bible Reading For Further Study
Psalm 13:3; 19:8; 25:15; 26:3; 101:3; 119:18
Proverbs 3:7, 21; 4:25; 7:2; 22:9; 23:5

Recommended Songs for Worship
Light of Light, Enlighten Me
Light of the Lonely Pilgrims Heart