We were on our way to church on Sunday morning. There was little traffic; Dene was wearing her usual “necklace”--my microphone--and my hearing aids were set to pick up only that. Long ago, conversation without this wonder had ceased due to road noise.
Suddenly, I hit a hole in the road and exclaimed, “I’ll bet I would have missed that if I had been looking at the road instead of into the woods.” I followed that a moment later with, “That is why you are a better driver than I am despite: I have better coordination, more practice, can see better, and am smarter than you are.”
When she objected to the last point, I said, “I married you; you married me.” She conceded.
When she drives, Dene does nothing else. Her whole attention is on the road and the business of driving; it has to because of her vision problems. Jesus said that if one’s eye is single, his whole body will be full of light. Despite all the discussion about multi-tasking, we really cannot do more than one thing at a time. We always short one in order to do the other, which is the reason I hit the hole in the road and why I stumble when I try to chew gum and walk.
On a spiritual plane, Jesus is urging that we keep our focus: “You cannot serve God and Mammon.” Many Christians have lost their souls because they did not keep their eyes on the road.
No one preaches about covetousness anymore. One supposes such preaching would not be very popular in the most materialistic country in this most materialistic age. When church-attenders spend more time and money on recreation in a year than they give to the Lord in all the ways they give (collection, personal benevolence, attendance, personal study, et al.), one must at least suspect their eye is divided and their path is off into the woods. It is right to work, it is right to have houses and good food and toys. It is not really difficult to discern when the focus has shifted to those things, even when the sinner continues to attend. “By their fruits you shall know them….” Only the guilty says that you cannot really know what is inside him. Jesus says that you are what you do.
The one who worries about the things he does not have, food and clothing, Jesus says, is actually in the same boat with the covetous man. He has his focus on things, on mammon, and not on God and righteousness. Filling the needs of the covetous man is impossible. But, if done, would not satisfy him or free his time for the Lord. He will always want “more.” Likewise, providing abundantly for the anxious will not stop his worrying. Neither one is focused on the Lord, but on things. When one says that if he just had _________, he would be able to devote more time to God, he is fooling no one but himself. He is driving with only an occasional glance at the road and lucky to drive between the ditches.
Sometimes we are deceived into thinking there are many choices. Jesus said there are two—God or things; righteousness or carnality. All the various pursuits such as career, honor, status, art, etc are just variations on mammon that allow us to believe we are above the money-grubber.
So, think about it the next time you drift off the road toward the direction you are looking, and evaluate what your spiritual focus is.
All scripture references are from the Sermon on the Mount. If you cannot make the time to find and read them, you may have an indicator of your focus!