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     Sermons | Passionate worship

    This sermon was preached by the Rev. Keith Cardwell at Swift Presbyterian Church.

    Jan. 19, 2020 | Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

    Spiritually Nearsighted
    Genesis 3:1–7

    ■ Third sermon in the 2020 Vision series

     W E’RE IN A SERMON SERIES addressing 2020 vision. First week we looked at spiritual blindness. Last Sunday was farsighted. Seeing the faults in others and not seeing our own sins. Today is nearsightedness.

    A nearsighted person sees near objects clearly, while objects in the distance are blurred. Nearsighted people can see to thread a needle but can’t read a road sign.

    † † †

    EVE AND ADAM are nearsighted. The woman “sees” the fruit. She sees it is pleasing to the eye. She sees the fruit is desirable for gaining wisdom. She sees all these immediate benefits. What she can’t see are the long-term negatives.

    Eve and Adam see what’s within their nearsighted vision — the forbidden fruit.

    She and he eat. Their immediate desire is satisfied, but their eyes are opened to their nakedness, shame and fear before God. They lose the Garden. And gain labor pains and tough toiling of the land.

    † † †

    TIME AFTER TIME, we read biblical stories of God’s people being nearsighted — seeing what’s close up while neglecting the long-sighted, farsighted consequences.

    The Hebrews, freed by the power of God from slavery, are hanging out in the wilderness. Moses has gone up the mountain and has not returned. The future of Promised Land seems distant, if attainable at all. Tired of waiting, they make a calf statue of gold and worship it. Not seeing the long-term damage to their relationship with God.

    Jesus talks of his coming kingdom. Instead of a farsighted vision of that glorious day, the two brothers, John and James, argue over which of them will sit on Jesus’s right and left side (positions of power) in an earthly kingdom.

    † † †

    IN SOME PARTS OF THE WORLD, people describe a nearsighted person as being “short-sighted.” https://www.allaboutvision.com/…/what-does-nearsighted-mean…

    ■ Yelling, degrading, shunning a child might bring immediate compliance or quiet or whatever you’re looking for, but at the long term harm done to the child. Humiliating a child is short-sighted.

    ■ Cheating on your spouse. Someone catches your eye. There’s some unexpected chemical spark between you. One thing leads to another. A quick roll in the hay. Marriage is damaged. Short-sighted.

    ■ Spending money on luxuries that is meant for paying bills.

    ■ Not going to a doctor, which leads to greater illness and longer recovery.

    † † †

    YOU GET THE IDEA. We see ourselves up close but we fail to see others and how our decisions harm them. Since the beginning humans have put nearsighted goals, visions, and desires above our long-term relationship others and with God through Jesus Christ.

    There are advantages to being nearsighted. You can see up close. You can see yourself spiritually. To be spiritually nearsighted offers the vision to see ourselves for whom we truly are. The good, the not-so-good. The faithful, the unfaithful.

    We can see our transgressions and our need for God’s saving grace. We can see our sin and seek God’s gracious forgiveness. We can look into the darkness of our heart, confess our sins and proclaim Jesus as personal Lord and Savior.

    † † †

    DAVID SAW HIS SIN and cried out, “have mercy on me, Lord.” The tax collector stood at the back of the temple and prayed, “Have mercy on me, a sinner.” Isaiah confessed, “I am a man of unclean lips.”

    We see ourselves and our need for Christ in our lives, but to be nearsighted means we can’t see others clearly. We can put too much emphasis on the “personal” in “personal Lord and Savior. We’ve got our ticket punched. It’s just me and Jesus walking in the garden alone.

    ■ In the parable of Jesus, the rich man sees his own wealth and power and accumulations. He does not see the sick and starving man outside the gate. A gate through which the rich man comes and goes daily.

    ■ In our hurried lives, we fail to see our neighbor suffering on the roadside.

    ■ Voting with our pocketbooks instead of what’s good for the country as a whole.

    ■ Refuse to reuse and recycle because it’s too much effort without seeing the damage to God’s wonderful creation.

    ■ We fail to see the contradiction between our overeating and folks who go to bed without food.

    ■ We are concerned only for ourselves and not for others.

    † † †

    WE SEE TEMPTING FRUIT in front of us and think it’s ours to do with as we please without cost or consequence.

    Twenty/twenty vision. Perfect eyesight. Seeing up close. Seeing distances. Seeing ourselves. Seeing the good and need in others. Responding to God’s grace in our lives though care for creation and love for others.

    God gives us perfect vision. To know our blessings and to bless others.

    With God’s vision correction, we see near and far. At home and across the street. In our town and in our world.

    — Keith Cardwell   

    «There are advantages to being nearsighted. You can see up close. You can see yourself spiritually. To be spiritually nearsighted offers the vision to see ourselves for whom we truly are. The good, the not-so-good. The faithful, the unfaithful.»

    SCRIPTURE FOR THE DAY

    ►This is the Word of God for the people of God:


    Genesis 3:1–7
    Holy Bible, New International Version


    The fall
    3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

    2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”

    4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

    6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

    — This is the Word of the Lord.
    — Thanks be to God.


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    23208 Swift Church Road
    Foley, AL 36535
    Phone: (251) 943-8367
    email: swiftpc@gulftel.com