In this passage, Jesus is not giving a lesson on our physical anatomy. Rather, he is making a spiritual point: that if our eyes are to remain healthy, if they are to see clearly, they must remain fixed on the kingdom. The eyes, both the physical and the spiritual, must be focused on God. Not on earthly treasures, not on money, not on stuff, but on God. In other words, we need to take care of what we are watching or seeing: are we in control of what we are seeing, or does what we see control us?
Think also of the importance of headlights on a car: suppose we are driving along a road at night and the lights go out. Suddenly, we realize just how dark it really is. We can’t see at all.
Similar with God: if our eyes are not focused on God, and instead are focused on whatever is eye-catching, or whatever comes along – then we lose our sense of direction. It might as well be dark. It is as if we are allowing darkness – things like cynicism, despair, greed, hostility – to creep into the heart, via the eyes, clogging our arteries, failing our vision.
It is a spiritual challenge, isn’t it? Think of what we see (and hear) every day. Think of all the challenges, all the distractions that want to take our eyes off the kingdom: from the Impeachment to the coronavirus in China to wildfires in Australia, to name only three things. And think of how it is a spiritual challenge to stay single-mindedly, whole-heartedly attuned to God, to stay hopeful and loving!
In the Beatitudes Jesus says that “only the pure in heart can see God (Mt 5:8). Only those whose hearts have been cleansed by the power of God’s grace can see God fully and truthfully.
What challenges do we face that may cause us to take our eyes off of the kingdom? How may we see more clearly the light before us?
Pastor Andy Kinsey