Human beings are amazingly imaginative, inventive creatures, and nowhere do we demonstrate more creativity than in our quest to impose a sense of meaning, order and control over our lives. We eagerly develop worldviews that help us understand our existence, seeing the world through our assumptions and systems of meaning.
Some of our ways of perceiving the world are helpful; others are harmful. But all of our worldviews have the potential to become destructive when we make the mistake of placing them at the center, in the place of God. Rather than allowing our worldviews serve as a lens that makes it easier for us to see what the Spirit is doing the world, we often begin to worship the lens itself. We begin to assign ultimate meaning to the eye rather than to the light that allows us to see.
One of the most powerful worldviews we find ourselves enmeshed in today is that of the money economy. Even 2,000 years ago, Jesus taught of the dangers of pursuing and accumulating wealth. The lure of wealth, power and security is immense, yet Jesus warns: No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
At another time, Jesus declares: It is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God. Quite understandably, his disciples were greatly astonished and asked Jesus:Who then can be saved?
Jesus’ answer is worth chewing on: With humans this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. When left to our own devices, our eyes are inevitably darkened by the worries of this world and the deceitfulness of riches, by all the ways in which we seek to protect ourselves and make sure that we come out on top. Self-preservation and self-centeredness are hard-wired into us at the deepest levels. Our vision is often darkened by short-sighted, selfish motivations – whether consciously acknowledged or not.
Jesus teaches us that the eye is the lamp of the body. If our eyes are healthy our whole body will be full of light. Unhealthy eyes, though, fill the body with darkness! The only way for us to see anything clearly is to look past the eye of our own understanding and see the light of what he is doing in the world. When our eyes look up at him, rather than down at all the conflicting demands of our lives, Christ will fill our whole bodies with light and set us on a straight path.
It is by watching Jesus, keeping our eyes set on his living presence and activity in the world, that we are able to walk with confidence through the many challenges of life. And when our sight is focused on him, our lives will grow to bless those around us, reflecting his radiance to fill the eyes of others.
We live in a world that works 24/7 to devise distractions to capture our attention, drawing us away from the light that Christ shines on us. How can we awaken from this gloomy way of life, instead making the self-giving love of Jesus our reference point? In a world that is obsessed with consumption, social status and financial advancement, how can we keep our eyes fixed on the one who created everything for a greater purpose? What kind of power would be released if we could truly perceive the power of him who provides for the birds of the air, the flowers of the field, and all living things? What will it take to open our eyes?