My husband and our teenager recently got back from a missions trip to Mexico. They spent a week with the locals, ministering to them, meeting their needs, and seeing the power of God heal and deliver them from affliction. They came back with such fresh perspective and gratefulness for the luxury of immense blessing that they enjoy here in America. Even in what we would consider our financially “tight” weeks they raved about how a simple thing like advanced indoor plumbing and water pressure was enough to sing Hallelujah!!! It got me thinking about the concept of gratefulness and I began to examine my life and my attitude….
Earlier that week, as I was mowing our lawn, I found myself somewhat grumbling about the current, lengthy, difficult, season of life I was in; Its intense, hard labor, both in the physical and in the spiritual was bearing little to no available, tangible fruit as of yet. There was a weariness that was setting in, as I would see many around me being blessed and excited about the fruit they were picking from their trees of life. I asked God this question; “What is wrong with me?, why is it so hard for me to be happy for these others in their happiness? I know it’s not my intent to be disgruntled, in fact I preach against it, so what is my real problem Lord, what is causing me to feel this way?”. He began to speak to me about my weariness (Galatians 6:9) and encouraged me to stand in the ring and continue on for the harvest. He also showed me that it was more of a self-pity problem than anything else, to which I at first resisted, but ultimately conceded and asked for forgiveness for. Early that next morning, as I was reading the Word, He brought me to Matthew 6:22-23
“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. if then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
At first read, I didn’t really understand the meaning of this scripture or how it pertained to me, but I knew there was something there. As I prayed and studied out different key words and other correlating commentaries and scriptures God began to deal with me heavily about the issue of my current heart attitude…
Eye in the Greek is “Ophthalmos” meaning by extension – The faculty of mental perception and understanding.
We see the meaning of the eye come full circle later in Matthew 20:15 in the parable of “Laborers in the Vineyard”. The landowner (who represents God) had hired several laborers (who represents us) at different times throughout the day, so some worked 12 hours, some just 1 hour but at the end of the days work, he compensated them all equally. The reaction from the people who worked the longest was outrage, they felt it unfair that they worked a long 12 hours but were paid just the same as the ones who came on board for just a measly hours time. The landowner’s response was this; “Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?”.
They eye is our mental perception and understanding of everything that takes place in us and around us. When our eye becomes “bad” it is because we are clouded with worldliness, materialism, and the “me syndrome”. Our eye can also become bad when we judge the blessings of others based on how we’ve chosen to live our lives for Christ. On the contrary our eye is clear when it is receptive to the redeeming grace and powerful generosity of God the Father who gives every good and perfect thing to His kids (James 1:17, Matthew 7:11). So the word says that when our eye is clear then the light is within us, meaning when we have surrendered to grace vision then we are full of light and prepared to operate in that light to touch the hearts and lives of those around us, and our power becomes limitless. But when our eye, our mental perspective and understanding, is dark and clouded with selfishness and worldliness then even the things we perceive to be light in the world is just all darkness, rendering our anointing powerless and ineffective.
So we see that the Laborers in this parable were so concerned with “getting their fair share” that they couldn’t see with an eye of grace and be touched by the generosity of the landowner towards the others who didn’t deserve the full pay. They missed out on the opportunity to be moved by God’s grace towards the lesser because they were clouded by their self-pity, as well as self-righteousness. How many times do we miss what God is doing because we are so preoccupied with our own self loathe? How many opportunities to encourage and be thankful for others do we miss because we ourselves are still laboring long and hard hours to gain our fruit? We live in this world where we do things according to “what’s best for us” with no regard for other people, to the point that we cannot even be happy for others who are achieving an succeeding because we aren’t getting our “fair share”. It’s a sickness that is taking over the souls of man/woman without us even realizing it, it eats away our grace for one another, it tears apart our compassion, our understanding and our genuine love for God instead of money and “stuff”. We bicker over how overpriced everything is, or how so and so spends their money, how ridiculous it is for the Miller’s to have 5 boats, and we can barely keep our family vehicle maintained. We’ve adopted an entitlement mentality to erodes away our dignity to the point of expecting others to give us some of what they have because “its just not fair!”. You see it in politics, in schools, in reality TV shows… everywhere.
More over, our eye becomes clouded with the mundane details of this world and it’s affairs, and we are rendered useless to extend the gospel of salvation and peace to those around us. If we ask God to wake us up so that our eye is clear then we can see clearly to extend the love and salvation of Christ to a lost and dying world out of the gratitude of our hearts for what God is doing in and through us. We have to stop measuring our success by the world’s standards, numbers, accumulations, relevancies and the like. I believe what we are missing out on is what God IS doing in our lives, the blessing He’s trying to show us how to receive – ““What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”- (Matthew 6:31-33 MSG)
This hit me like a ton of bricks, and tears began to flow in repentance for my foul attitude towards God’s generosity and blessing towards others, I asked Him to wake my eyes up to clearly see by grace and not be clouded by the selfishness of the world that I didn’t even realize was setting into my soul. The world is a tricky thing, it’s narcissistic perception, and ugly attitudes will creep in without you even realizing it, so stand guard, pray that God will awaken your “eye” which is your mental perception and understanding, to see clearly and humbly, His grace and mercy. Continue to renew your mind to see others with love and respond to God’s gracious giving in your own life, so that you may be at peace to operate out of the overflow of abundance, instead of laboring so hard for every little bit. Wake up grateful every day for the ways that God is and will work in and through you, blessings to you as you walk in an attitude of gratitude!!!