Worthless things. I wonder if we had an inventory of everything we looked at today whether it was online or in our non-digital world … how much of our vision was held captive by worthless things?
Oh I know you’re thinking about pornography or the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition (which is pornography, in case you haven’t figured that out) or some other lust-fueled imagery. Yes, those are worthless things from which we need to turn our eyes.
But there’s more.
What things are you looking at that make your blood boil? Is that steam coming from your ears because you didn’t like someone’s latest political comment or you were offended by an inappropriate joke?
What things are you looking at that are merely gossip fodder? Stalking someone’s Facebook page to find out what they’ve been up to so you can talk about it with your friends? Worthless.
Maybe some things are ‘worthless’ because they are not helpful or because they betray a prejudice or because they expose a hateful attitude.
Worthless things would include the things that take our attention away from God and experiencing his presence.
The world is full of beautiful things and beautiful people to observe and enjoy. Why do museums and art galleries exist? Because there are things that are not worthless but enriching to look at and gain from. Why is it when we enter a restaurant or coffee shop the chairs at the table face one another? So that we can look at people we like and learn from and encourage. Why can we set our vision on a sunset or a campfire or a waterfall and contemplate the greatness of God? Or maybe just remember our blessings? Those are not worthless things.
Turn my eyes away from vanity [all those worldly, meaningless things that distract—let Your priorities be mine], And restore me [with renewed energy] in Your ways. ~ Psalm 119:37, AMP
Each of us will have to think about and identify the worthless things that capture our vision, the things that appeal to our vanity and self-focus.
I was thinking about some of the healings in the Bible, particularly blind Bartimaeus.
And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way. ~ Mark 10:51-52 (ESV)
If you had been born blind and Jesus chose to heal you, I wonder what you might consider the Psalmist to mean when he appeals to God to “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.” Maybe you would just look at everything you could see, or maybe you would search out the things of God. I don’t know if we can imagine seeing for the first time, but we start each new day in the renewed mercies of God. If you ask God the same request to be found in this Psalm for tomorrow, what would be different about what you decide to look at?
“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting — a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Search out the valuable things of God, and turn away from the worthless things. Then we can find the life that God promises.
Thanks for reading, JD.