“To be well versed in Scripture and all the sayings of philosophers will not profit you if you are without God’s love and His grace. ‘All things are vanity’ (Ecclesiastes 1:2) Nothing matters except to love God and to serve Him only. The height of wisdom is to set your goal on heaven by despising the world.” (Imitation of Christ, Thomas Kempis)
Jesus tells us “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19-20)
“No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Luke 16:13)
The first time I read the instructions of Jesus to build my treasure in heaven, I paused and began to worry… I had some money in the bank but what treasure could I possibly have in heaven as I had not been focusing on being charitable. I had just been busy making money. I realized I should stop worrying and starting doing something. So I started volunteering at various charities…I tried many things until I found my little niche…I found I really enjoyed being with little children (as I am just a big kid at heart).
So our God who knows everything, and knew that I would enjoy being with little children talking about the Holy One I love the most, trained me for a while on the Holy Scriptures and then brought me into the Church to help prepare little children (8 years old) for their first Sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation.One of the first things I did was invent the “Building your treasure in heaven” game. I made each child a little wooden treasure box with the face of Jesus on it and inside it I put a bag of little “bingo chips”. Some chips had “happy smile faces” on them and some had “sad faces” on them. I taught the children that to build your treasure in heaven, we needed to make Jesus smile.
Each day I suggested that the children reflect on how many times they made Jesus smile. Each time they made Jesus smile they could put a happy face in their treasure box. And when they made Jesus sad they would need to put a sad face in the box knowing that they would now need to say sorry to Jesus and to the person they offended. Once they apologized for their sin they could remove the sad face and give themselves a happy face. To teach the children how to build their treasure in heaven, I built a little board game where you roll a dice and at each step you pick up a card with a picture scenario you have to figure out trying to make Jesus smile…For example one of the pictures shows a student passing another student a note with the test answer on a little piece of paper. In response to this scenario, one child said “well if I didn’t know the test answer and someone gives me the answer, I would say, “thank you”…Ok that’s the wrong answer: that’s how you get a “sad face” on the board…someone else said “No that’s cheating and Jesus will be sad!”….right answer, happy face!
Ok you are probably not 8 years old, and you probably know just how to build your treasure in heaven…But for my little brain (and I found this works for children) I just keep asking myself WWJD…What Would Jesus Do? I try to figure out what Jesus would do in the situations I am in and then I try to imitate Him…while focusing on the goal of making Jesus smile and when I don’t, I know that I need to say I’m sorry to Jesus and to whoever I have offended…and I go to Confession to start over.
What I discovered Lord is that YOU are the treasure in heaven that I desire! I want to please YOU! I want to make YOU smile! I’m sorry for wasting a lot of time. I had my priorities mixed up. Thank You for teaching me to pray, to sacrifice, to forgive and to be patient. I’m waiting for You, show me the way Jesus! I place my problems in Your hands. I know You will help me. Help me to love You and all those You give me! Help me to make You smile!