22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, 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 New International Version (NIV)
I’ve heard a few sermons about these verses in my lifetime. And in each message, the preacher talked about FOCUS.
Whatever you spend your time focused on will determine whether your life is full of light or full of darkness.
That’s a good word.
If you spend a lot of your waking hours focused on negativity—whether it involves the media or the people you spend time with—you’re going to have a lot of very negative thoughts, which will color your attitude, which dramatically affects your life.
On the other hand, if you spend your day focused on positivity—like communing with God and singing praises to Him and speaking into people’s lives in a positive way—you’re going to have very different thoughts, which will help you keep a good attitude, which will also dramatically affect your life. In a good way.
But I just learned of a different way to look at these verses.
The NIV has a couple of footnotes. Here’s what they say:
Matthew 6:22 The Greek for healthy here implies generous.
Matthew 6:23 The Greek for unhealthy here implies stingy.
Wow! I had no idea.
So what does that mean?
I’m not sure, but I think having “generous eyes” could mean having eyes that look for and see opportunities for generosity. Opportunities to invest resources in people and programs that further God’s Kingdom here on earth. Opportunities to share what God has entrusted to us with individuals who have a need we can fill. Opportunities to spend our life on a purpose more important and longer lasting than our brief time on earth.
“Generous eyes” could mean looking for and seeing the positive instead of the negative. The right instead of the wrong. Giving people the benefit of the doubt. Being generous with our love and grace and forgiveness—just like God is with us.
The opposite mindset—“stingy eyes”—could mean we look for and see opportunities for ‘stinginess.’ Opportunities to hoard our resources based on fearful predictions. Seeing the needs of people based on their failures and poor decisions. Seeing needs too big for us to fill as an excuse for walking away instead of investing what we can.
“Stingy eyes” could mean always looking for and seeing the negative, never the positive. All the wrong that’s happening and never the right. Jumping to conclusions based on appearances. Assuming we know people’s hearts and motives. Acting the exact opposite of how God acts toward us by being stingy with our love, grace and forgiveness.
Whichever way we apply these verses—focus or generous/stingy mindset—the results are life-changing.
We will either be full of light or we’ll be full of darkness.
And it’s our choice.
This little light of mine—I’m wanna let it shine. How about you?