An Eye Exam

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: Luke 11:34-36


I.         There is an old saying that bad things come in threes and to a lot of people this appears to be a true statement

            A.        Life is filled with good and bad events

            B.        But what happens is that when something bad happens, we start focusing on the bad things in our life. We get to a count of three and say, “See. I was right!”

            C.        This tendency affects us in many ways

                        1.         When a person gets depressed, he focuses on all the sad things in his life.

                                    a.         It isn’t that he has nothing good happening, he only takes note of the depressing things because of his mood.

                                    b.         Even when you point out something good, it is discounted

                        2.         When a person doesn’t like another person, he sees everything another person does wrong in his view. The good things are there, but they are ignored.

            D.        There is an interest experiment that was done years ago. People were asked to watch a video of people dressed in either white or black pass basketballs between them as they scrambled around. The viewers were asked to count the passes to people in white only. At the end they were asked for their count. Then they were asked about the gorilla. []

                        1.         What gorilla? About half of all viewers did not notice a person in a gorilla suit walk into the middle of the passing, thumping his chest and then walking out.

                        2.         How could they miss something so obvious? Because they weren’t expecting it.

                        3.         Later experiments showed that if people knew about the gorilla (and they all saw him), they would miss other unexpected things in the video. Again, about half the people would not notice.

                        4.         This is what is behind magic tricks – setting up expectations and then doing something unexpected.

                        5.         What I would like you to consider is how many things are you not noticing in life because of your expectations?

II.        Generosity

            A.        Treat others equally - Luke 6:30-35

                        1.         Too many are only generous when they believe they will benefit - Proverbs 19:6

                        2.         Generosity to the rich isn’t appreciated - Proverbs 22:16

                        3.         But we should do good because it is the right thing to do - Galatians 6:9-10

                        4.         We don’t treat people differently because of their wealth - Leviticus 19:15

                                    a.         Notice this goes both ways.

                                    b.         You don’t favor the rich or favor the poor.

                                    c.         You don’t despise the poor or despise the rich

            B.        In giving be liberal - Romans 12:8

            C.        The benefits to those who are generous are often indirect

                        1.         It may come back at a later time - Ecclesiastes 11:1-2

                                    a.         Feed fish and later when you are looking for food, you’ll have fish

                                    b.         Be willing to help because you may not realize who might need the extra help or whether one day that help might come back for you.

                        2.         Blessings come back to the generous - Proverbs 11:25

                                    a.         This isn’t a purchasing of favors – that would be bribery.

                                    b.         This is how people respond to someone who has treated them well - Proverbs 18:16

                        3.         God takes notice and pays back - Proverbs 19:17

            D.        But do you notice who needs help? - Proverbs 22:9

                        1.         To have a generous eye. To take note of opportunities in which to be generous. To focus on where you can help.

                        2.         We should remember the poor - Galatians 2:10

                        3.         There will always be poor around us who need help - Mark 14:7

                        4.         Don’t hide your eyes - Proverbs 28:27

III.       An evil eye

            A.        In the parable of the vineyard workers, some didn’t like the fact that the owner was generous to the late coming workers - Matthew 20:10-15

                        1.         Instead of seeing the master’s generosity, they saw that someone got the same amount for less work

            B.        I’ve seen people who get upset because someone is remembered or praised. At the root of it is that they believe they should also be remembered and praised.

                        1.         People grumble, finding fault - James 5:9

            C.        In a list of sins, Jesus mentions people with an evil eye - Mark 7:21-23

                        1.         This is the person who is unhappy at other people’s good fortune

                        2.         It is a person focused on wanting to see misfortune.

            D.        The miser (literally a man with an evil eye), doesn’t like seeing others benefit from him - Proverbs 23:6-7

                        1.         He is focused on increasing wealth, but doesn’t see others - Proverbs 28:22

                        2.         He doesn’t get benefits from helping others, so little comes to him in the future.

                        3.         In other words, he is the opposite of the man with the generous eye.

            E.        To not give to those in need is a sin - Deuteronomy 15:9

                        1.         The example is saying “He’ll be taken care of by someone else soon.”

                        2.         In other words, opportunities to do good were passed by because of the person’s focus.

IV.      What kind of eye do you have toward others?

            A.        Are you looking to bring people down or up?

            B.        Are you looking for the good you can do for others?

(Suggested song: “O the Things We May Do”)

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