How Great the Darkness

Amy Clemens

Read: Matthew 6:22-23

If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (v. 23)

Jesus speaks about the absurdity of lighting a lamp then covering it up; a few moments later he takes his metaphor “out of the basket.” His listeners are invited from visual imagination to visceral reality. Jesus is no longer talking about a lamp on a stand somewhere—he is talking about them. Your eyes are lamps; you can shine or pull the shades, but if you hoard the light for yourself, you’re in a world of hurt, he says.

One paraphrase says, “If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!” (v. 23 MSG). If I covet my earnings, my spending habits will be selfish, not giving light to the world. If what I own owns me, I will be consumed with protecting it, not using it to further God’s kingdom. If I hoard gifts and talents for my glory rather than surrendering them to God, I may accomplish much, but nothing that projects light from the kingdom of God into the world God loves.

We are easily fooled into thinking that we have a little light that can be kept for our own glory and purposes. But that’s not God’s intent, and hoarding light leads to a greater and greater darkness as we become more fooled, and more foolish. —Amy Clemens

As you pray, acknowledge the ways you may not want to be light for the world, the places your own eyes may have become darkened.