Tuesday, February 07, 2006
February 12 Sunday Sermon
Matthew 6:22-23 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
This is the text for my sermon on Sunday. It is still under the series theme, "Where is Your Treasure?"
What is interesting about this text is that the adjectives, "good" and "bad", used to describe the eyes, are euphenisms for the word "generous" and "stingy". Also, the eyes are actually a euphenism for heart. Jesus speaks in poetry just as well as the Psalmist!
Jesus is still dealing with the issue of "treasuring to yourselves treasures", and his observation about human behaviour is this: generous hearts are full of light, and stingy hearts are full of darkness. If "treasuring to yourselves treasures upon the earth" is marked by stinginess, then it reveals a dark heart. If someone's "treasuring to yourselves treasures upon the earth" is marked by generosity, it reveals a light-filled heart, which also reveals that the individual is actually "treasuring to yourselves treasures in heaven".
Jesus' point isn't that we should try to be more generous. His point is that our measure of stinginess and generosity NOW reveal how much of our treasury is upon the earth, and how much of our treasury is in God's hands. If we want to increase our level of generosity, then we address the issue of trust: do we trust God with our treasures? And in trusting God, on any point, we find ourselves experiencing salvation. Salvation is not an event that existed at one point in time, it is the fabric of our soul now, and it becomes more so as we trust God.
What are the effects on the neighborhood, community, nation and world when stinginess overwhelms generosity: see the slow recovery in New Orleans, see the slum lords in our neighborhood, see the millions of refugees crammed into African camps. Generosity is an essential adjective for God's work towards us. And our redeemed heart, when we listen to it, is pleading for us to ever-increase our generosity to others. This results in more trust in God, and more love to our neighbor, and more glory for God!
Hope this helps as you prepare for the worship event on Sunday.