EVANS MILLS — What do you treasure in life? I suspect that if a survey was taken among 100 people concerning this question, there potentially could be 100 different answers.
Often, we can discover what a person really treasures in life through simple conversation with that individual. Conversations can be quite revealing!
Recently, I was rereading the birth narratives of Jesus from the New Testament of the Bible. In particular, Luke’s Gospel focused my attention upon something said concerning the chosen earthly mother of Jesus, whose name was Mary:
“But Mary treasured all these things in her heart and pondered upon them.” (Luke 2:19)
What were those things that Mary pondered? If you read this chapter in Luke’s Gospel, you will discover that it was what the shepherds had declared to her upon their arrival concerning what the angel of God had announced to them.
For Mary, she treasured the word of God now spoken to her through these simple shepherds. I can’t help but believe that Luke could not have written this unless he had a personal conversation with Mary. (Yes, conversations can be quite revealing!)
If one reads both Chapters 1 and 2 of Luke’s Gospel, one can discover that Mary treasured the things of God, especially his word to her. In essence, Mary had a heart for God! She viewed herself as “the maidservant of the Lord” (Luke 1:38).
Her response to the angel is quite revealing concerning Mary’s heart and character! I believe this is what made her the “perfect mother” for Jesus, a godly and obedient heart.
In light of this reflection about Mary, the question I pose for your consideration (and my own) is this: How much do you treasure the things of God? An insight into answering this question for yourself is to answer another question: On what do you spend most of your time thinking about or engaging in? The answer to that question will indicate what your treasure is in life and, therefore, show where your heart lies!
In Matthew’s Gospel, some of the teachings of Jesus are recorded. For example, consider these thoughts:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
Also, for added impact on your reflection, read Luke 12:13-20 and reflect on that little illustration Jesus uses. Jesus’s teachings, among other things, always intended to give perspective about and balance to life.
What do most people spend an inordinate amount of time pursuing? Treasures on earth or treasures in heaven? (View this as a rhetorical question with an obvious answer!)
We have now entered a new year, 2020. You may have already come up with New Year’s resolutions.
If so, I encourage you to include in your resolutions more intentionality of time to consider and focus on the things of God. These things can include such activities as prayer, worship, study and charitable giving. In so doing, you just may discover a new and more lasting treasure that can change your conversation as well.
Happy New Year!
The Rev. Steve Nagler of Evans Mills is a chaplain at Cape Vincent Correctional Facility. An ordained minister with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, he previously served as a chaplain in U.S. Army from 1985 to 2005.