Enlightened Sight and Generous Giving

What would our lives look like if we were singularly focused on God’s Kingdom, rather than on the world and wealth?

It was a frightful experience.

In 1996, after an overseas trip, I began to see floaters in my right eye. The next day, the retina detached like a torn curtain. I could not see colours, images, faces. The beauty of the world around me disappeared. I saw only darkness. I was now blinded. And scared!

This experience increased my interest in a familiar passage on generosity and eyesight—Matthew 6:18-24:

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness…You cannot serve God and wealth.”

This passage connects our heart, our spiritual eyesight and wealth. But eyes are key—what does healthy spiritual eyesight look like?

In Greek, the word healthy is haplous—singly fixed on one object, one goal, one master. The King James Version says, “If your eye is single, your body will be full of light.”

By contrast, the word unhealthy is poneros—bad, diseased, double-minded. Poneros is used in the story of the labourers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16). Those who had worked many hours through the heat of the day complained that those who worked only one hour received as much pay as they had.

The owner responded, “Is your eye envious (poneros) because I am generous?” The worker’s eyes were not “single.” They were darkened … envious. Ignorantly, they have forgotten who they were “… my treasured possession among all peoples … a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5,6). If they know who they were, envy had no place in their hearts.

Not surprisingly, people in the competitive society of Singapore are motivated by envy. We envy our neighbours’ possessions. That beautiful house my friend just purchased. His new model SUV makes mine look outmoded. Oh, what a wonderful maid you have.

But Singapore is not alone! Who among us has not been trapped by envy? The question begs to be answered: How can I have healthy eyes so that my whole body will be full of light?

Preceding is the instruction in Matthew 6:19-21 regarding two treasures; treasures on earth and treasures in heaven. Jesus exhorts, “Lay up treasures in heaven.” This is another way of saying, give generously to God.

A careful reading of the context reveals the secret of having seeing eyes is through one’s giving as his singular expression of commitment to the Lord. As an outcome that person’s eyes will be healthy and his body will be full of light.

What would our lives look like if we had “single vision”—fixed on one goal, serving God rather than wealth (Matthew 6:24)? To be clear, Jesus was not condemning wealth. His criticism is being double-minded—seeking wealth as primary.

During one of our one-to-one discipling meetings, I told my friend “R,” a successful retail business owner, that my church had decided to reduce their monthly support to me by Singapore $750. I was taken aback when without further thought R said, “Royston, let me take care of that.” Unknown to me, R had previously made a commitment to obey God by setting aside a significant percentage of his earnings as his expression of worship.

Through the ups and downs of life, R’s life displays the peace of God. When others ask for his support, without hesitation, it is always a “yes.” To him giving is a privilege and a joy. R has good “eyesight!” He is single-minded (without double motives) and therefore generous.

My Gospel-worker friend, how is your spiritual eyesight? We want others to be generous, but is it time to reconsider your level of generosity?

  • Are you double-minded—you want to serve Christ, but you also want wealth.

  • Are you single-minded—putting Christ first rather than seeking wealth?

You may want to talk to a close friend about your commitment to obey the Lord in the matter of giving.

Oh, by the way, miracles do happen. I recovered sight in my right eye. That would be another story for another day.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on Scott Morton: Your Funding Coach blog.

Royston Koh

Royston Koh is the International Funding Coach for The Navigators Singapore. He and his wife, Sin Yow, joined the Singapore Navigator staff in 1979. They have served in administration and church discipleship ministries. Royston’s focus is now enabling both the Nav staff and the organization to be adequately funded. He enjoys reading as a hobby.