Your eye is the lamp of your body

Pastor Tom Jeske

Jesus exhibited a good eye. His vision and focus were on trusting the Father’s promises to provide and protect.

We’re born with such complex bodies. Muscles and bones in your hand coordinate to pick up a hot drink. The smooth chain of your spine moves as you bend to lace on a shoe. Now imagine that you have to pick up a glass or tie your shoe . . . in the dark.

Often we grope through life situations like a blind man feeling his way along a wall. Our “eye” is bad. We think life is all about accumulating created things, and so we worry.

Sure, we need to see God as Creator. But he wants you to know him in the warm light of his name, Father. The Lord God was grieved that his first humans rebelled and hid in the gathering dusk. Satan did much damage to our first parents’ ability to see life clearly. Adam and Eve, post-Fall, seem entranced, as if they didn’t recognize him. So a Father’s heart arranged for an eye transplant. He sent his Son to serve them and us in a special way.

Jesus exhibited a good eye. His vision and focus were on trusting the Father’s promises to provide and protect in the face of evidence to the contrary. He submitted to his Father’s will. He lived under the limitations of a human being. Jesus completed the task set before him, finding and feeling the cross. He followed into the darkness of his grave. This was how the family relationship was restored between a holy Father and his stumbling guilty children. Jesus’ insight into his Father’s will and into our need shows that his body was full of light.

Each of us faces a new year. For his brothers and sisters who worry about what may be lurking ahead, Jesus makes the odd comparison that your eye is your body’s “lamp” (Matthew 6:21-23). As a boy, Jesus learned to carry a little clay lamp that ran on maybe an ounce of olive oil. As he held it in his palm, his lamp gave just enough light to see for the next few steps.

Where we’re looking controls what we’re doing with our lives. Think about these statements:
“Kelly can’t take her eyes off her boyfriend.”

“Bill doesn’t let that car out of his sight.”
Good light or poor light regulate a body’s response. What holds one’s interest even disciples look at and find themselves following.

What sights have you already permitted to come through the windows of your eyes today? A stream of changing, disturbing news? Sports, the Dow, menace, and tragedy from around the world? Advice on dating or fashion? Or catalogs, sales, soft-porn ads, and trips to anywhere but where you are? Jesus?

Jesus reminds his disciples—again—who they are: children of the heavenly Father! Count how many times Jesus uses the word “Father” in Matthew 6. When the Holy Spirit works this belief in our hearts through water and the Word, then we are full of light and our bodily responses are well-lighted. Then your eyes are where they need to be. Then your body is full of light. As a useful lamp puts out the proper light, this light provides confidence for its carrier to move safely and work productively.

God’s children truly have a good eye. Their outlook on 2006 is that of a good Father’s well-cared-for children. They view each day through the window of the cross. They have perspective on their own struggle with greed and worry. They are an example to friends and family. For where our treasure is, there our hearts will be also.

Hand me that lamp for a minute, would you?

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Living Hope Lutheran Church, Omaha, NE