“HOW IS YOUR VISION?”
Matthew 6:22-23 February 3, 2013
Gobles/Kendall – Rev. Dan Minor
Jo and I enjoy watching old Andy Griffith show re-runs. In one of them, Barney Fife, the nervous deputy of Mayberry, decides to become an amateur psychiatrist. He sends off for an amateur psychiatrist kit. When it arrives, he tries it out on Otis, the town drunk, using the classic ink-blot test.
Barney shows Otis one of the ink blots and says, “Look at this, Otis, and tell me what you see!” Otis answers, “I see a bat!” Barney gets upset and says, “That’s the difference between you and me, Otis! You see a bat and I see a butterfly!”
Well, for once Barney is right. The difference between people is often how we see things. Someone put it like this:
“Two men looked out through bars.
One saw mud; the other saw stars.
Let’s take a look a closer look at our text:
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light” – Matthew 6:22
In the Greek language, the language of the New Testament, the word body means more than our physical body. It means, what we would call today, the total personality.
To paraphrase, Jesus is saying “The eye is the lamp of the total personality.” In other words, the way we see things, the way we look at things, the way we view things, our perspective says a lot about our relationship with Christ and our spiritual health.
When we accept Christ as our Savior and Lord, the spirit of Jesus actually comes into our hearts to dwell. He becomes our eyes, our hands, our feet, our total selves.
The issue is whether or not we are willing to see the world, circumstances and other people through the eyes of Christ.
Let’s bring this message home by asking three questions:
- 1. DO YOU SEE THE WORLD THROUGH THE EYES OF CHRIST?
“For God so loved the world, He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life” – John 3:16
One of the most incredible truths of the Christian faith is that God loves us in spite of our sinfulness. He was born with a price over His head. He was kicked out of His hometown. His own people rejected Him. His friends ran from Him. One denied Him and another betrayed Him. Yet He died on the cross for our sins and even offered a pardon for His enemies.
How do you explain it? There is only one way to explain it. “For God so loved the world …” (John 3:16). God does not love us because of who we are but because of who God is. We do not come to the Table of Holy Communion because we are worthy, but because God is worthy. There is nothing we can say or do to win God’s favor, because we already have it. The love of God is unconditional, inclusive, universal, sacrificial, merciful, forgiving, redemptive and eternal.
The great Protestant Reformer Martin Luther once became so aggravated with those around him that he cried out, “If I were God and these vile people were so disobedient as they now are, I would knock the world to pieces.” Luther might have done that, but not God. “God loves us with a love that will not let us go” (George Matheson).
To see the world through the eyes of Christ is to experience the love of Christ in our own lives.
2. DO YOU SEE CIRCUMSTANCES THROUGH THE EYES OF CHRIST?
“In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer I have overcome the world.” John l6:33
There are times when all of us face circumstances which, at the time, seem insurmountable. We can face any circumstance as long as we do not have to face it alone.
Consider the example of a great jazz musician who became famous during the l920s. During that period he became intrigued with trying to blend jazz and blues with church music. One of his songs made it into our United Methodist hymnal.
In August of l932, Tom Dorsey was scheduled to sing in a church at St. Louis. His wife was expecting a baby at the time and he was nervous about leaving her at home in Chicago. Later, he said, “something was telling me to stay.” But, he decided to keep his appointment in St. Louis.
During his performance that night, a Western Union telegram arrived. After opening it, he quickly returned home to Chicago. His wife had died. And along with her their first born child whom she had delivered shortly before her death.
Mr. Dorsey said, “I fell apart. For days I closeted myself. I felt God had done me an injustice. I didn’t want to serve God any more … or write any more gospel songs.” But, then one day, he sat down to his piano. “My hands began to browse on the keys,” he said…” and then something happened … I felt as though I could reach out and touch God. I found myself playing a melody I had never heard before… and suddenly words came into my head … and just fell in place.”
“Precious Lord, take my hand, Lead me on, let me stand
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn. Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light, take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.”
Tom Dorsey saw circumstances through the eyes of Christ.
To see circumstances through the eyes of Christ is to know God is in control of our lives.
3. DO YOU SEE PEOPLE THROUGH THE EYES OF CHRIST?
“A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you …” – John l3:34
I know some people are hard to love. In the “Peanuts” comic strip, Lucy says, “…I love humankind; it’s people I can’t stand.” Not so with God. God loves people and He wants us to do the same.
Helen Keller was a great American author, political activist and lecturer. She was the first deaf blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. But her spiritual vision was 20/20. Helen Keller said, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”
Let’s be honest. Are you willing to see people as Christ sees them? Are you willing to love people as Christ loves them?
To see people through the eyes of Christ is to love others as Christ loves us.
In a much more profound sense …
- Jesus saw the world as people to love … So must we.
- Jesus saw circumstances as possibilities, not problems
… So must we.
- Jesus saw people as persons, not things … So must we.
Well, how’s your vision?
Prayer: Dear Lord, open our eyes that we might see through your eyes. In Jesus’ name. Amen.