Matthew 6: 22-23

Carl Belcher
Carl Belcher

I recently came across these words from Jesus:

"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!" (Matthew 6: 22-23)

To be honest with you, He had me kinda scared. You see the problem is that I'm nearly as blind as a bat. Without my specs on I could be talking to my vacuum cleaner thinking it's someone and not even notice! So if like me you are visually challenged, don't get into a frenzy of anxiety just yet, there's good news.

When Jesus talks about eyes here, He's not talking about those little round things we see out of. He's using picture language. The bad eye doesn't mean physically bad, but one that restricts light coming into the body. Near eastern cultures use this word to describe an eye that is envious.

The same 'bad eye' or 'envious' word is used in Matthew 20: 15 "Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?"

You probably guessed it already but if the 'bad eye' means envious, then the 'good eye' means Generous.

Again, this 'good eye' or 'generous' word is used in James 1: 5, Romans 12: 8 and 2 Cor 9: 11.

So the point that Jesus is making here is if you are generous, you open yourself up to get the most out of life. If you are envious you close yourself up and exist in darkness.

I don't know about you, but that sounds a touch full on to me. Why is envy such an issue?

Truth is that all the stuff that we think, say or do which we know isn't what God really wants from us is sin, and in God's eyes there aint no pecking order. He simply wants to help us be free of it all.

However, St. Augustine describes it as the diabolical sin - the sin of Satan himself. You see, it was out of envy of God's generosity toward man, that Satan rebelled and when the leaders of Israel handed Jesus over for crucifixion it was out of envy of Jesus' power and popularity. So at the heart of envy is a resentment of God's generosity.

I found this Latin phrase 'Ubi carirtas et amor, Deus ibi est'. (Impressed eh?)
Which meant nothing to me until someone much cleverer explained that it meant 'Where love and charity are God is there'.

Generosity and the gratitude that flows from it is the exact place where the Divine (God) and the earthly (us) meet. So to put it simply, if you want to experience more of God, begin to show more generosity.

Generosity is not just limited to material possessions. It's a characteristic which flows out of every aspect of life. Here are a few areas in which we need to be generous: