Perspective is everything. Perception is the all consuming reality for us even if it is wrong. Sure it could be about how we do math but really in a daily sense right or wrong perspectives are crucial on how we perceive good or evil.
Paul taught that the love of money is the root of many kinds of evil. It makes sense in the rat race world we live in. Why not cheat your neighbor if the Almighty for you is the Almighty Dollar? Money and corruption go together for a reason in the issue of greed whether it is corrupt politics, business or other things.
But Jesus dug into the matter of greed even more. He had just talked about the contrast of riches of earth that are seen as an end in themselves versus the invisible ones of heaven. But in digging deeper the lens that people see the world around them is addressed.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,[c] your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy,[d] your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Mammon (money) (Matthew 6:22-24).
Jesus is getting at the roots of what salvation is all about. Living in a revival meeting, Billy Graham effected country we hear of the common perspective that to “see the light” is to “ get saved” and have your fire insurance paid for.
But Jesus has a message that can be interpreted like that but also much further. Jesus spoke from the richness of the Old Testament scriptures including the Psalms and so did his disciples.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?
The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid” (Psalms 27:1)?
The Old Testament source most quoted by Jesus, the Apostles and the Early Church Fathers was the Septuagint which was the Greek translation of the Old Testament. This is important to the common salvation key of interpreting holy life. To be “saved” (sozo) was to be made whole. One can see that in the Greek like when the unclean woman touched Jesus and she was made whole. She was “sozo’d” so to speak without baptism or the Sinners Prayer.
So yes, one can see the treasure in heaven but that can not be deep enough because then we are motivating ourselves by seeing the handiwork of God as end in itself instead of seeking His face. Just as natural life is defined as consuming something, so should we remember that spiritual life is about seeking Jesus Himself for Himself. And from that it makes sense that the eyes with light could have an effect on the mind, heart and body.
But let us not stop there. Spiritual and natural life are also defined as happening by reproducing. Disciples of Jesus that walk in the fullness of salvation are to reproduce children and/or fruit that will glorify God.
“Alas, child, light of my eyes, that I have let you make this journey!” (Tobit 10:5). Strange though it may seem, the perspective of the mother is seeing her child as an illuminating source. She did not mean that her son was a celestial body nor a deity. She believed that life does go on and uses a spiritual reference to esteem her son’s value to her by the grace of God. There is a fulness to her life here because she sees a heavily blessed treasure on earth that is relational. If our eyes are purified then we will have a more pure appreciation for the priorities and actions that matter.
Or then there is emptiness that fits with the reference of Jesus.
“The eye of the miserly is rapacious for food, but there is none of it on their own table” (Sirach 14:10). The miserly seek to save as an end in itself and thus they lose. It was people like that who Jesus referred to in saying “how great is the darkness”.
I leave you with a story of conversion that fits what I am talking about. Ron Rearick stole 1.5 million dollars from a plane in the 70’s. He had it in his hands for a few minutes and said “It’s not enough”. Then he was arrested, went to prison and was paroled sooner by far than he expected. When he came out he was a new Christian and got married. When he and his wife were about to drive away from the wedding some friends were able to give him a modest amount of money. He swelled up with joy and said it was more than enough. He had peace in the light of the glory of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So can you. So can I. What’s stopping us?
AFTER CREDITS SCENE
Some of my readers may have wondered why I quoted Tobit and Sirach. If you are a Protestant you do not regard these as rule of faith scripture. I have changed on that as well when I ceased being a Protestant and became a Catholic (but I did not cease being an Evangelical). Below are some points by Catholic Answers. Keep in mind that the Council of Carthage was authoritative on the undisputed New Testament. Can we cherry pick with their Old Testament finding?
Proof on Deuterocanonicals
There are close affinities of thought, and in some cases also of language, between I Peter, i, 6, 7, and Wisdom, iii, 5, 6; Hebrews, i, 3, and Wisdom, vii, 26, 27; I Corinthians, x, 9, 10, and Judith, viii, 24-25; I Corinthians, vi, 13, and Ecclesiasticus, xxxvi, 20.
The sub-Apostolic writings of Clement, Polycarp, the author of the Epistle of Barnabas, of the pseudo-Clementine homilies, and the “Shepherd” of Hermas, contain implicit quotations from, or allusions to, all the deuterocanonicals except Baruch (which anciently was often united with Jeremias) and I Machabees and the additions to Daniel. No unfavorable argument can be drawn from the loose, implicit character of these citations, since these Apostolic Fathers quote the protocanonical Scriptures in precisely the same manner. For details of these testimonies see Loisy, “Canon de l’Ancien Testament”, pp. 71-72.
the Council of Carthage. Canon 36 reads:
[It has been decided] that nothing except the canonical Scriptures should be read in the Church under the name of the divine Scriptures. But the canonical Scriptures are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Ruth, four books of Kings, Paralipomenon two books, Job, the Psalter of David, five books of Solomon, twelve books of the Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezechiel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, two books of Ezra, two books of the Maccabees. Moreover, of the New Testament: Four books of the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles one book, thirteen epistles of Paul the apostle, one of the same to the Hebrews, two of Peter, three of John, one of James, one of Jude, the Apocalypse of John.
Thus [it has been decided] that the Church beyond the sea may be consulted regarding the confirmation of that canon; also that it be permitted to read the sufferings of the martyrs, when their anniversary days are celebrated. (From Denzinger’s Enchiridion Symbolorum, translated and published in English as The Sources of Catholic Dogma)
Two key points should be noted. First, while the names and divisions of some Old Testament books differ from contemporary usage (for example, the four books of Kings are, in modern Bibles, divided into 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings), the canon is that of the Catholic Bible, not of the Protestant. Second, this canon was to be confirmed by the “Church beyond the sea”–which means Rome.