A vision checkup

You probably heard the news last week about the movie star who died of a drug overdose. It’s sad and tragic on so many levels, but honestly, it wasn’t surprising. Not that I expected it with this particular actor—I knew nothing about his drug problems—but it’s happened so many times with superstars that it’s not really unexpected.

In a way it’s hard to understand. Why do so many wildly successful people turn to drugs? Why aren’t they happy with all their money and fame? They’re on top of the world, right?

Or maybe they’re not.

If we follow Jesus, we already know the answer:

The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23)

Just before these verses he was talking about money, and that’s probably what he’s got in mind here. When people’s eyes are focused on their money—and what it can do for them—their hearts are filled with darkness.

But in a sense money stands for everything tangible and temporal in this world. It gets our attention, then grabs our hearts. We start seeing it, then we can see nothing else. That’s what a “bad eye” is—it’s focused on stuff that can’t fulfill and doesn’t last.

On the other hand, the “healthy eye” sees beneath the surface to what really counts—things of God. Love, mercy, peace, hope, obedience, eternity.

That’s the contrast Jesus sets before us. Will our eyes see only the things of this world? Will we think too much about the world’s cheap thrills—money, superficial entertainment, empty pursuits?

Or will our eyes see God? Will we see what he’s doing in the world, in us, in his people? Will we see what he sees?

It’s not overstating it to suggest that our lives are determined by which kind of eye we have.

How’s your vision?

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