22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; 23 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!
There is a Latin phrase, Incurvatus in se, meaning "turned/curved inward on oneself." When our focus is turn in on ourselves and our concerns, we are unable to see the light of God in those around us or to be the light of God to them. Even more concerning is when what we think is light is actually darkness in us. We must keep close to our Light and allow him to transform us so that our light in the world is ever more clear.
- When do you feel most tempted to turn inward on oneself?
- What practices do you have to stay connected to the outward and to Jesus?
- Are there areas of darkness that you have passed as light?
Gracious God, thank you that you are continuing to work in us and inviting us to be light in the world. Help us to continue to submit to your transformation so that we may be your people in the world, free from turning in on ourselves and open-hearted toward those in our context. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
24 “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
Notice that Jesus does not say, you cannot have God and wealth. When we serve, we throw our energies, our minds, our hearts toward the object we serve. Imagine if we wholeheartedly serve God with the wealth we have, trusting that He is the kinder master.
- What about your economic situation causes you to turn your attention away from serving God?
- What do you need to hear from God in order to relinquish your tendency to focus on your wealth?
- Where do you find hope in this verse?
Gracious God, we often find it hard to keep our eyes on your when we are surrounded by the “never enough” culture we live in. Give us hearts that are content with what we have and focused on you as our Master. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?”
There are a lot of questions in this passage as Jesus invites us to embrace a new kingdom perspective of having enough and leaning into God as our Provider. In our anxiety of need, Jesus invites us to look and to consider and in seeing his provision around us, remember that we are precious to him, and we can trust him for our basic needs.
- Which of the questions above stir the most in you and why?
- How do you overcome the anxiety that you experience?
- What is Jesus saying to you in the midst of your anxiety?
Gracious God, how did you know that anxiety is a common experience across generations. Your invitation to look around and consider how richly you provide the needs of the simplest parts of your creation stirs in us a desire to trust you more. Help us to let you in to our places of anxiety and trust your provision for us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
One of the ways that we reflect Jesus and his rule in our lives is our capacity to live beyond the anxiety of this life. During this time when anxiety seems to hang in the air, we are invited to thrive today under God’s rule and pursue his will for the world, trusting that all that we need will be provided for us.
- What would it look like today for you to strive for God’s kingdom?
- What distracts you from thriving during this time?
- What do you hear God inviting you to in the midst of your anxiety?
Gracious God, you are worthy to be pursued each day by us. Thank you that you are our Provider, and we can trust you for all our needs. As we trust, help us to look for ways that we can share our provision with others as we pursue your kingdom in our contexts. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. 2 For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. 3 Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.”
In his all-knowing, Jesus challenged his followers to live a life accountable to God and to give others the space to do the same. Jesus seems to suggest that we should err on the side of focusing on our own need for transformation rather than pointing out the shortcomings of others. This is important counsel in the divided and blaming culture we inhabit and we are invited to experience grace to the extent that we extend it to others.
- What is difficult about this admonishment of Christ?
- When have you felt the judgment of others?
- Are there neighbors in your life whom you are seeking to help clear the splinter from their eye? What might Jesus be saying to you in this passage?
Gracious Lord, we confess that we can be quick to judge and so slow to extend grace to those around us. Remind us how gracious you have been to us and use the circumstances and people in our lives to transform us into your image for your glory. In your name, Amen.