Meditation: Buried Treasure
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:21
Jesus teaches us to consider the lilies of the field and how they do not toil and spin and yet are beautiful. He explains that the birds of the air don’t worry about what to eat and God lovingly cares for them. We are instructed to invest our time, attention and wealth in the kingdom of heaven rather than in this world.
If we live in faith we can stop striving to accumulate more of the world’s resources for ourselves and instead open our hands and our hearts to the needs of others."If I give this, what shall I have left to enjoy?" Such selfish thinking is the way of the ghosts; "If I enjoy this, what shall I have left to give?" Such self-less thinking is a quality of the gods. (Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life 8.125) Although this is a Buddhist teaching it is more inline with what Jesus taught than the teachings of many Christian preachers in America today.
We are often proud of our “protestant work ethic.” The founders of our nation believed that “idleness was the devil's workshop.” In our culture there is the idea of each man for himself. The focus on capitalism and its rewards have many of us competing against our neighbors rather than loving them. We tend to fill our lives with acquiring material possessions and taking care of them. We are not alone in our desire for material things. People in all countries face the desire for wealth.
This week in Cairo, Egypt a man and his son were digging for treasure because a magician had convinced them that it was buried under their house. The man hired seven workers to help them dig a hole 20 ft. deep. The team stopped to eat before Ramadan but the father and his son remained behind and were both killed when the hole caved in. What a reminder to each of us.
How many die of a heart attack as they work hard to save for retirement, put in a pool or pay off the credit card?How can we know for sure where our treasure is or where our hearts really are? On our money is printed the phrase “In God We Trust” but that does not make it true. It is good to go on a treasure hunt in our own lives and look for clues as to where we are hiding our treasure.
What do we spend our time thinking about, dreaming about, and planning for?Do we have time to speak out against military aggression, weapons proliferation, and racism? Could we share more of our money to help those with untreated medical conditions or who are hungry? Could we buy clothing or heating oil for some who are cold or exposed to the elements?
Generosity is the remedy for covetousness, greed and fear. Giving is an act of faith and an expression of joy.Striving for material things robs us of the time and energy to build relationships, to listen, share and encourage. It takes times of inaction to contemplate and commune with God and seek His guidance. Wherever our treasure is, that is where our heart is also.
Prayer: In gratitude and joy I open my hands and my heart. I will seek for the clues which show where my treasures are being horded. I repent for having been seduced by the greed and arrogance of my culture and desire instead to lay up treasures in heaven as you taught us to do. Open my heart more fully to love and make my life a prayer to you.
Action: Become more aware of where your heart is by stopping now and then to notice your thoughts and the focus of your actions. Seek God's direction in how you can more fully reflect the face of God to the world. Study Matthew 6. Consider supporting Churches Supporting Churches, a response to the Katrina catastrophe http://www.ecapc.org/csc.asp