Where does your treasure lie?

Do you wake up in the morning and think to yourself, "Ah! My life is perfect! God has given me everything I need!"  I'm guessing you may be thinking right now, "Huh! I wish! The kids, the dog, my spouse, my boss..." The list goes on and on.  "If only I could change this person, this job, this thing, then my life WOULD be perfect..."

If you're anything like me, you have your share of challenges.  A cross to bear.  Concerns about the future.  I pray the Divine Mercy chaplet daily.  "Jesus, I trust in You."  Sometimes life can get overwhelming and we question ourselves, especially when the hits just keep on coming.  

This morning, I picked up my bible and thought, "Speak Lord, Your servant is listening. What message do You have for me today? Should I open to the Old Testament or New Testament?"  I decided on a Gospel, and I randomly opened the book to Matthew.  My eyes were drawn to Matthew 25:21:  

"Well done, my good and faithful servant."

Is this what the Lord will say to me at the end of my life?  

I admit, I've had moments of self-doubt.  Am I like the third slave in the Parable of the Talents?  Or am I a good and faithful servant?  

I'd like to think that my focus is on the treasure to be found in heaven, rather than anything I could want to attain here on earth.  I'd like to think I've been faithful, but it's been hard to make ends meet lately.  I've devoted a substantial amount of my time to service, and have had a childlike mentality of trust that "God will provide".  He tells us to have faith and don't worry, and I have taken this literally. Even now, I should be packing, but I just want to write and tell the world that God provides and that all I'm going through will reveal the glory of God.  I don't have to foresee the outcome to know this. He is already working in my life and I've been able to accomplish so much.  Plus I am happier than I've ever been in my life, in spite of the struggles.  Even my so-called mistakes have led me to an increase in knowledge and the obstacles have helped me develop a certain amount of wisdom.  And I'm trusting that by focusing on Him and on my service instead of my own earthly needs, I'm accomplishing what He wants me to do. 
These past four years, I have been blessed with this modest home where I am filled with peace. I've also witnessed the presence of the Blessed Mother and the Trinity.  The first two years were full of such bliss, as if I were walking on a cloud.  Then the trials comparable to Job began.  

Reminds me of a song by Kutless, "I'm Still Yours".
"If I lost it all, will my hands stay lifted to the God who gives and takes away?... Even if You take it all away, you'll never let me go.  Take it all away, but I still know that I'm Yours, I'm still Yours..."


Somehow I endured, though I didn't always act in faith and trust. Yet God was with me through it all, even in my moments of doubt. They say that the devil's attacks are stronger when you're drawing closer to God, or striving to bring others closer to God. He wants to throw you off your game. He will lure you with the promise of an easy way out. It is then that you will need to press on toward the goal:  

"I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14)  

We need to pay attention to what's most important to us.  For what good is it to gain the whole world and lose your soul? (Matthew 16:26)  What's the greatest treasure in your heart?  Jesus reminded us to do everything we can to attain the pearl of great price:  

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it."  (Matthew 13:44-46)  

In spite of whatever is causing us to worry, whether it's financial difficulties, health issues, family problems, coping with difficult coworkers, or whatever it is, if we focus on that one pearl of great value, our fears of the challenges will melt away, and obtaining the temporarily-fulfilling objects of our desires will no longer seem important.   

There's a poem called "The Station" by Robert Hastings.  He basically says we think that once we hit a certain goal, our life will be perfect.  But then another obstacle and another goal comes along, one after the other.  So we're always striving for an ending that eludes us.  And that's the reason why Jesus tells us to focus on one day at a time.  

I think that the Station will continue to elude us until we change our perspective on what our goal should be. It's not graduation, the promotion, the new car, the new house, the dream vacation, it's not even retirement, or anything on earth that we imagine it could be.  

   Copy of an old newspaper clipping.
If you can't read it, click here for a larger version

The challenges refine us as fire refines, "I have tested you in the furnace of adversity." (Isaiah 48:10).   Lord, grant me patience in adversity...  We all have crosses we're nailed to, but nothing, not even death, can keep us down.  Experiences that seem to crucify us are meant, like Christ's death was meant, to glorify the Lord.  If we allow them to.

I keep saying that all I do must reflect the glory of God.  Yes, even these struggles are a reflection of that glory. His fidelity to me; His providence. Teaching me humility; teaching me that all good things come from God.  I call upon the Blessed Mother Mary to walk with me, to show me the way to walk in blind obedience to the will of God, even when I don't know where I'm going.  

I saw TobyMac in concert recently and I love the song, Move (Keep Walkin')  

I know your heart been broke again
I know your prayers ain't been answered yet
I know you're feeling like you got nothing left
Well, lift your head, it ain't over yet, ain't over yet so...

Move, keep walkin' soldier keep movin' on
Move, keep walkin' until the mornin' comes
Move, keep walkin' soldier keep movin' on
And lift your head, it ain't over yet, ain't over yet

Hold on, hold on, Lord ain't finished yet.
Hold on, hold on, He'll get you through this.
Hold on, hold on.  These are the promises I never will forget  

The Lord continues to bless me each day in small ways. The key is to look for the blessings, because they're not always obvious unless you're actively looking for them. The more difficulty you face, the more you should offer your praise to God. He is working in your life, right now, even if you don't see it...

Resigned to the will of God, I am freed from worry and earthly concerns to focus on His plan for my day. I put each precious minute of my life into His hands.  And so I proclaim that God is almighty, all powerful, all goodness and mercy, and He is doing a glorious work of blessing through each moment of my day. Thank you for the challenges, Lord, that are guiding my footsteps toward You.

It's not about where I'll end up next year. It's about eventually getting to heaven, and taking others with me by encouraging others to deepen their relationship with Jesus. Don't worry about tomorrow, said Jesus. Trust in God's providence.  

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today."  (Matthew 6:25-26, 34)  

Live in the moment. Make every moment count.