Let’s play a little game. Before we can find our treasure, we have to know what we treasure. Imagine that your home is on fire and you only have time to take one item with you as you flee, like a photo or your purse. What would you take?
Now imagine you are holding that item. The house is on fire. You can save your family or that item. What would you take? It may seem like a silly question, but what is treasure? Is it our things or the people in our lives?
John U. Teh a religious leader was asked to go to the Philippines to visit church members and victims following a massive earthquake and super typhoon, described by ABC News as a category 5 storm. When he arrived, he found thousands dead and many thousands more homeless having lost everything they owned and sometimes everyone they loved. One woman said to him, “‘After the water receded and it was time to begin cleaning up, I looked around my home and thought, ‘Wow, I have accumulated a lot of garbage these many years.’”
Teh observed, “In times of calamity or tragedy, the Lord has a way of refocusing us and our priorities. All of a sudden, all the material things we worked so hard to acquire do not matter. All that matters is our family and our relationships with others.”
Teh went on to add, “There is no end to what the world has to offer, so it is critical that we learn to recognize when we have enough. If we are not careful, we will begin to chase after the temporal more than the spiritual… Sadly, there appears to be a strong inclination to acquire more and more and to own the latest and the most sophisticated.”
In the New Testament book of Matthew we read, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal: lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven… for where your treasure is there will your heart be also.”
The world can be a bedazzling place full of beautiful distractions. As a mother, I remember when my children came home begging for the newest music, movies, toys and cars, when they were older. I wanted them to have all the good things life had to offer like trips to amazing places, sports equipment, music lessons and more. I wanted to give them their every birthday wish. I also wanted to have the newest car with the best car seats and to have my children be the best dressed at church. But would these things give me the treasure I wanted?
Here are three ways to help you find and care for your treasure
1. Identify your treasure
What do you treasure most in the world? Is it your children? Is it your family relationships? Choose what matters most to you in all the bedazzling world.
2. Invest in your treasure for the future
Every business man knows you must invest to get a return or increase your fortune. Benjamin Franklin said, “Time is money.” If time is money, what do you spend your time on? Our lives are short and, our time is limited. If your treasure is your family, take time to imagine what kind of family you want to have a year from now. What time and activities will truly help you invest in your treasure? Is it time to let go of activities that take you away from it?
If you treasure your family, plan to spend more time together listening, talking or you could plan to eat dinner together every day as a way to invest in and strengthen your family.
3. Learn the difference between glass and diamonds
Glass can sparkle and shine, but it doesn’t have the endurance and eternal strength of a diamond. Practice thinking about what is real and important and letting go of the fake imitations.
Life is full of distractions like cell phones, iPads, entertainment and pretty baubles. When you find yourself distracted by the “glass” jewels in your life, remember to spend your time with, and thinking about, your diamonds or family relationships, the things that are real and will endure beyond time. Ask yourself every once in a while, “How is what I am doing right now building up my real treasure?”
Look around you right now. What are you doing? Who are you with? What are your thoughts focused on? Are you working on building your fortune or are you distracted by our bedazzling world?
When you find yourself distracted by sparkles and shine, remember what the sweet survivor in the Philippines learned, life is more precious than any worldly possession. Embrace and invest in your true treasure, grateful for the gift of one more day together.