God, give me pure and clear eyes. Amen.
Text: Matthew 6:19-23
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”
Everyone must have something as his treasure. The soul holds on to something, either perishable or eternal. It is foolish to give one’s heart to earthly things, for all earthly possessions are changeable. When one has wearied himself in gathering it and wants to enjoy it, it is eaten by moths and brings only worry and loss; when one thinks he has it in a safe place, it gets stolen. The more earthly goods and glory your heart gathers, the poorer you are; a longing thirst burns in your soul, and you have nothing to satisfy it. It’s a problem with man’s idolatrous love for earthly things, a worrisome blindness that darkens one’s whole existence and excludes one from eternal light. We consider temporal things the true reality, as if they answered our heart’s eternal longing, but still they are only a shadow of life’s real treasure. If we are wise, we have them without possessing them, or rather, without the heart relying on them, – free from them, lords over them, powerful to use them in works of love.
That is true of pure eyes. Worldly people also want to have heavenly things; but “their eyes do not look straight ahead” (Pro 4:25). They want to enjoy the world, and they want to have heaven; but our eyes cannot focus on two things at once. A heart that divides itself between God and mammon is darkened.
O Christians, you are enlightened by God’s Spirit and have got heaven in sight; guard your hearts from corruptible things. Let the Lord, the living God, be your God, and let the eternal inheritance of glory be your possession! Let your heart be wholly and fully with Jesus! See Him ever clearer with the eyes of faith, and entrust yourself to Him ever more sincerely with living confidence and love! “My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. … Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. … Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you” (Pro 4:20,23,25).
God, help me; the things of the world always want to be in my eyes and darken my view. Give me clear, simple, pure eyes, that I may entrust myself completely to You, use all earthly things in the service of love, and gather treasures in heaven. God, give us this grace for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Whoever here is lusting
For riches still is poor,
Gets only what is rusting,
Whate’er he has in store;
The wealth that lasts forever
Is giv’n through Christ our Savior,
Now and forevermore.
“Consider what you gather
And all that you have got;
To you, dear child, My Father
Shall add more to your lot.
To Me turn your frustration;
The world brings consternation;
In Me there’s peace with God.”
German: O, vilde du betænke L 522:3.4 tr. DeGarmeaux;
tune: Herr Christ, der einig Gotts Sohn (ELH 224) alternate hymn: Jesus, I my cross have taken ELH 424