Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Laying Up Treasure ~ the Good Eye

The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be 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! (Matthew 6:22-23)
Jesus is not giving us an anatomy lesson here; He is still talking about laying up treasure. Just as we must choose where we will treasure up our treasure — on earth or in heaven, we must also choose whether our eye will be evil or good.

Speaking of the eye in this way, Jesus is using an ancient Hebrew idiom that describes whether a man is generous or greedy. We see an example of the “evil eye” in the book of Proverbs:
A man with an evil eye hastens after riches,
And does not consider that poverty will come upon him.
(Proverbs 28:22)
The man with an evil eye loves money. It has become his master and he trusts in it to see him through. But he does not realize that he is actually on the road to poverty and ruin.

We discover the source of the evil eye in the book of Deuteronomy:
Beware lest there be a wicked thought in your heart saying, “The seventh year, the year of release is at hand,” and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry out to the Lord again you, and it become sin among you. (Deuteronomy 15:9)
The evil eye of stinginess starts as a wicked thought in the heart. The Hebrew word for “wicked” is belial and refers to that which is destructive, worthless, profitless. It does not add to the goodness of life but takes away from it. The man with the evil eye deceived to think he will profit by his greed. He will not even break even, but will lose all he has.

That is why Jesus said, “if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness … how great is that darkness.” He describes that darkness in another place:
For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these things come from within and defile a man. (Mark7:21-23)
But enough of the evil eye; let’s talk about the good — that’s where the blessing is. Jesus said, “If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be light.” The Greek word used here for “good” literally means “without folds” or unentwined. It is simple, single, clear. The good, single eye, is not complicated by the greed of the evil eye. A man with a good eye is generous. He sows generously and reaps abundantly (2 Corinthians 9:6). Psalm 112 describes the blessing of such a man:
Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
  Who delights greatly in His commandments.
His descendants will be mighty on earth;
  The generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches will be in his house,
  And his righteousness endures forever.
Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness;
  He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
A good man deals graciously and lends;
  He will guide his affairs with discretion.

He has dispersed abroad,
  He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever;
  His horn will be exalted with honor.
(Psalm 112:1-5, 9)
This is a man who honors the Lord and follows His Word. It becomes light in his heart and he becomes light to all those around because he is full of grace and compassion. His generosity does not lead to poverty but to prosperity — wealth and riches will be in his house.

The greedy eye leads to lack, poverty, even destruction. The generous eye leads to prosperity and honor.



The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth

The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth
Keys to the Kingdom of God
in the Gospel of Matthew

by Jeff Doles

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Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.