Luke brings us a parable from Jesus that is familiar. We actually looked at a very similar parable earlier in Luke’s narrative. It was in chapter 8 verses 16 to 18. Both parables talked about a lamp and a lampstand. But then we branch into different directions from there. Today’s parable focuses on the eye, or the window to the soul.
Jesus starts out talking about lighting a lamp and what you do with it next. “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light” (verse 33). In other words, a lamp is meant to be seen and to give off light. I think we can all agree on that.
Here is where our parable diverges from the other. Jesus says that our eye is the lamp of our body. So how does that work? Have you ever heard someone say, “Their eyes shone with love”? Or how about, “Their smile didn’t reach their eyes”? How about, “He has mean eyes”, or “She has the gentlest eyes”? People, even non-believers, recognize that you can see what is in a person’s heart by looking into their eyes. Why is that?
The reason is because what is in your heart manifests itself in your eyes. If you have hate in your heart it will be seen in your eyes. It will most likely also be heard in your speech. The reverse is true too. A heart filled with love pours out the eyes and mouth. The eyes truly are the window to the soul. The mouth can fool people for a time but the eyes don’t.
So Jesus is telling us not only to guard our eyes but our hearts too. If hate, bitterness, and unforgiveness live in our heart our eyes are filled with darkness. There is no light in that heart. But if we are filled with love, gentleness, and kindness our eyes will shine with that light.
We can’t manufacture the light ourselves, it comes from Him. Yes, there are “good” people who don’t know Jesus, but their light is dim and incomplete. They can only shine what they know. They don’t have the full truth in them but a counterfeit.
Jesus warns us about protecting our eye to keep it healthy; shining light instead of reflecting darkness. You can do this by directing what you “see.” Not what the eye happens to pick up as you go about your day, but what you attend to and focus on. If you focus on the things of God (His word, His plans for your life), you increase the quality of the light. If you focus on the problems around you or only worldly things darkness begins to creep in.
This reminds me of a plant. When growing a plant you want them to have as much light as possible. Why? Because then they can be strong. A plant that only gets a little sunlight is spindly and weak. It can’t bear fruit. It is barely hanging on to its own life. But a plant that gets plenty of sun is robust and produces good fruit. It has enough to sustain it while being able to give of itself too. That is what a body full of light does; filled with His light. They are eager to stay in the light and to share what they have found with anyone willing to listen.
Father God, thank You for Your light. Thank You that You sent Jesus to us to be the light of the world. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit which lights my path. Help me be a light for You. Help me be discerning as to what I focus on. Increase Your light in me every day. Help me shine Your light wherever I go. Especially help me shine Your light in my own home. Keep Your love flowing out from me; eyes, mouth and hands.