Reading: Matthew 6:19-34
When I was fresh out of high school, I worked at a children’s Bible camp, which also happened to be a ranch. One day we were trying to teach the kids how to direct their horses with their weight and posture. An egg was placed on the ground and the kids were tasked with walking their horse over the egg to break it. When the rider looked worryingly down at the egg, their weight shifted in the saddle and the horse would move away from the egg, missing it completely. But when the rider looked straight ahead and rode toward the egg without looking directly at it, the egg made a satisfying “crack” as it crushed beneath the horse’s hoof. The gaze of the rider had a direct impact on the path of the horse.
In Matthew 6, we are told that the eye is the lamp of the body. If our eyes are good, our whole body will be full of light, but if our eyes are bad, our bodies are full of darkness. So, the eye, our vision, plays a significant role, impacting the rest of our bodies and this means we ought to be both careful and intentional about where we fix our gaze. I find it particularly meaningful that this nugget of wisdom is squished into the context of a particularly rich section of scripture.
Jesus has just told his listeners that, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” He is encouraging them not to be materialistic, desiring to accumulate worldly wealth. Having the wrong focus equals choosing the wrong path: if a person desires to be rich and seeks after worldly wealth and material possessions, they will completely miss finding that which is of true worth—the immaterial treasures of heaven.
So what are these otherworldly treasures? Scripture teaches us that we are “created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph 2:10) We are to work at these things as if we were working for the Lord and not for men, and he promises, “You will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward…” (Col 3:24).
But it’s not just about doing these good works to gain a reward some day, it’s about the gift and treasure of knowing our Father God and having relationship with him, knowing our identity as his children. When we recognize how valuable we are to him and we set our eyes on our King and his Kingdom, we can be assured he will give us all that we need to fulfill the calling and purpose for which he made us. In contrast, worrying about our wealth or well-being, having a distracted focus, much like those kids looking down at that egg, is a sure way to miss the mark in terms of walking in our God-given destiny.
With all the tumultuousness of the last 7 months of this worldwide pandemic, are we seeing our values, the way we spend our time, our relationships, the way we work and do business, the way we live our lives, differently than we would have a year ago? We know the saying, “hindsight is 20/20”. In the global reset of the Year 2020, we have been given the opportunity to stop and reflect and re-calibrate back to clear 20/20 vision.
So what are you looking at? What distractions have gotten in the way of you enjoying your relationship with Father God? Are you confident you are walking in the purpose he has for you? What is one thing you can do today to gain more clarity about the direction your life is heading?
Where You Belong/Turn Your Eyes on Jesus
Give Us Clean Hands
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.