So now that I’m finished with seminary (well, one Hebrew paper to go…), I’ve decided I want to keep up with writing and blogging as a way to engage in dialogue with others and to just give me a place to ponder what Christian faith is all about. I decided to title my blog based on one of John Wesley’s lesser-known sermons, “On A Single Eye” that has been on my mind lately. It was written just a few years before his death. In it, he takes Matthew 6:22-23 as his text and in his usual style, writes about the Christian life and the demands of holiness. In short, if our eye isn’t focused entirely on God, we will be “as far remote from happiness as from holiness.” One illustration he uses struck me particularly as I consider my call to ministry. What has led me here? Is it always for the right reasons that I do what I do? Here’s the example Wesley uses:
Suppose a young man, having finished his studies at the University, is desirous to minister in holy things, and, accordingly, enters into orders. What is his intention in this? What is the end he proposes to himself? If his eye be single, his one design is to save his own soul, and them that hear him; to bring as many sinners as he possibly can out of darkness into marvellous light. If, on the other hand, his eye be not single, if he aim at ease, honour, money, or preferment; the world may account him a wise man, but God says unto him, “Thou fool!”
How do we keep our eye “single”? It all comes back to constantly seeking the sustaining presence of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. I’ve experienced that struggle that Wesley is aware of, of the hungry soul wandering, trying to get fulfillment everywhere but in God. As Wesley explains it, the solution for the wandering soul is to fix your eye on God and let his light fill your life. The single eye toward God means the soul is filled with the things of God, and Christian perfection is not far off!
I can’t say my eye is “single” yet. Sometimes I enjoy the “ease, honour, money, and preferment” of the ministry and my eye is focused far less on saving my soul and those that hear me than Wesley insists it should be. And so when that happens, I pray God will sharpen my vision back toward him, that I and those with whom I minister might find God’s marvelous light.