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‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The Sound Eye
‘The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
These are a few sayings here that may have more to them than is first apparent. Jesus starts by saying that we should not store up treasures on earth, but store up treasures in heaven. But it is doubtful that he means don’t worry about this life but get ready for the next one. The Jews did, of course, believe that after death God would provide for themselves a wonderful future, but they didn’t normally refer to that future as ‘heaven’. What we are really being taught here is that if you learn to love and serve God right here and right now, then you will have treasure in the present, not just in the future. In other words, don’t put your faith into earthly treasures which will perish or be taken away; rather put your trust in God because the treasure you receive from him will never perish.
Then we have a little section about light, urging that our lamps should shed light not darkness. But what does Jesus mean when he says that the eye is the lamp of the body? Perhaps there are three things. First to keep our eyes fixed on God. Well, we can’t actually see God, but you know what I mean. And second, we must take care where we actually look. What are your eyes drawn to? Are you actually in control of them, or do they wander where they should not? And if they are wandering, do they take your heart and mind with them? Then thirdly, the eyes are like headlights. Do they light up the road ahead, taking you in the right direction? If your eyes are not fixed on God they may take you off in entirely the wrong direction, or worse, if they switch off you are left floundering in darkness.
It is all a matter of getting your priorities right, of travelling in the right direction and focussing on the right things. If you are not focussed, but wandering aimlessly then your fleeting treasures will indeed be attacked by moths and rust, or even stolen. So much better to strive for the treasures we receive from God’s own hand, treasures which never perish.
And so we pray the Collect:
faithful and unchanging:
enlarge our minds with the knowledge of your truth,
and draw us more deeply into the mystery of your love,
that we may truly worship you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen