In Matthew’s Gospel for today, Jesus says “do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth.” I know from experience that fruit can spoil, cars can rust, and clothes can quickly go out of style! So what do I treasure and why?
I do treasure quiet time, family time, reading time, exercise time, meal time, worship time, and MY time. By MY time, I mean time when I can read, play the guitar, go for a long walk, exercise, or watch a show. As an individual striving for balance, I know that I need to balance my family life, work life, prayer life, and citizen life. I certainly struggle with focus and find that I can get caught up in worrying about stucco repair on our house, saving for college, and what’s wrong with the car.
As a husband and father, I find that I need to show my wife, Teresa, and our children, that I treasure them. What I do to show that I treasure each one of them is different. For Teresa, it may involve cooking the evening meal or spending an evening together walking, reading, or watching a show. For Luke, it probably involves looking at some of his photos or artwork. For Laura, it means spending time on the softball diamond or listening to some of her favorite songs. How I treasure these people whom I live with and try to love, says a lot about how I’m finding God or not finding God in every day.
I believe that finding God in all things and following Jesus means living my faith in my family life, in my life at work, and in my life as a member of a larger society. All of these aspects of my faith life should be seamless, but I’m often greatly challenged in having my heart on Jesus and living God’s love wherever I am. Someone focused on eternal values might better be able to see Christ present in all my neighbors in our world. Yet the God of love who knows how distracted I am continues to work with, to love me, and to shower me with daily treasures!
I know that I am pulled by living in a society that seems to value accumulating money and material possessions, as well as what people look like and what they can produce. I am clearly a citizen of the world in 2012, pulled in many ways, and yet I am invited by Jesus to have my treasure in love, grace, mercy, patience, trust, hope, and forgiveness. I am invited to treasure those in my life, especially family, friends, co-workers, and my neighbors---everybody!
I treasure colleagues and students here at Creighton and beyond, as they often broaden my world and teach me about treasure. Recently a work colleague told me about what a rush around day she had had, and this was just the morning! She also had four hours in the classroom that afternoon. I found myself a whiner in comparison! Kelly reminded me that we need others’ good example and their perspective in order to reflect on our own lives and find the treasure in that moment. Maybe part of treasuring that honors ourselves and God is simply being present in the moment, and enjoying the gift of time with a student, colleague, family member, friend, good book, or pet.
I’m aware that I can be judgmental about others’ actions and appearance, so I need to ask myself if I’m seeing as God does and looking with eyes of love. I wish it were easier to see as God sees, and to treasure our world, all people, and the present moment. I’m challenged by a saying from St. John Chrysostom: We are joined to one another and to Christ like flour in a loaf.
May God continue to open our eyes and make us grateful for the treasure we have every day, including the challenges and disappointments.
Where is my treasure today, and what/who am I treasuring? Reflecting on these questions may lead me to gratitude and awareness of God’s grace.