by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Beware the astigmatism of the soul
People have often misunderstood this expression "Take no thought" [Matthew 6:34] and ... many have tripped and stumbled...; the real meaning of "Take no thought" has changed since the Authorized Version was introduced in 1611. If you consult the authorities, you will find that they give quotations from Shakespeare to show that "taking thought" was then used in the sense of "being anxious," or tending to worry. So that the real translation ... should be, "Be not anxious," or "Have no anxiety," or if you prefer it, "Do not worry," about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; ... the actual word that was used by our Lord is a very interesting one; it is the word used to indicate something which divides, separates, or distracts us, a word used very frequently in the New Testament; ... you will find [in Luke 12:29] the expression ... "neither be ye of doubtful mind." It is a mind which is divided into sections and compartments and which is not functioning as a whole.
We cannot do better therefore than say that it is not "a single eye." There is a kind of double vision, a looking in two directions at one and the same time, and therefore not really seeing anything....
A still better illustration of the meaning of the term is to be found in the story of Martha and Mary ... (Luke 10:38-42). Our Lord turned to Martha and rebuked her. He said, "Thou art careful and troubled about many things." Poor Martha was "distracted"—that is the real meaning of the expression; she did not know where she was nor what she really wanted. Mary, on the other hand, had a single purpose, a single aim; she was not distracted by many things.
What our Lord is warning us against, therefore, is the danger of thus being distracted from the main objective in life by care, by this anxiety about earthly, worldly things, by looking so much at them that we do not look at God.
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, ii, p. 110
Comments on D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, A First Book of Daily Readings
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