In our Lord’s parable of the vineyard workers, the vineyard owner says to those who worked the longest, “Or do you begrudge my generosity?” (Matthew 20:15) It’s an unfortunate translation. It’s not wrong, but it doesn’t give us the full picture. What the vineyard owner actually says is this: “Or is your eye evil because I am good?” Earlier in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness” (Matt. 6:21-23).
This statement comes right in the middle of our Lord’s teaching about giving. He said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. “You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:19-24).
Having an evil eye does not let in the light. Having an evil eye means that we are focused on what we don’t have, that we are unable to rejoice in what God has given. An evil eye makes us distressed when we see others prosper. It makes us rejoice when others suffer. An evil eye makes us so love ourselves and our money that we don’t want to share with others; we don’t want to give of what we have because we are so focused on keeping what we have and getting what we don’t.
Whereas, a good eye is an eye that lets the light in so that our lives are filled with it. This light shines upon all that we have and reveals that it comes from our Father’s divine goodness and mercy. A good eye that lets in the light, unencumbered by the darkness, so that we have a good will, a benevolent disposition and a genuine happiness to see others prosper and the desire to be part of it.
Jesus came to give you a good eye and to take away the darkness that fills your life. Christ our Lord, through His death and resurrection, has forgiven your sin, removed your evil eye and given you new eyes that let in His light and truth. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you, by his poverty, might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).
The reality is that you have all that you need and more. You have the love of God in Christ Jesus. You have the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. You have house and home, all that you need for this body and life. So, lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy. And you will see that your hearts will follow, just as Jesus promised.