To Gain the Whole World…
Jesus warns us of the dangers of seeking treasures in this world:
“What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” -Mark 8:36, NAB
Where do you store your treasures? Do you stuff them under a mattress? Do you like seeing your bank account grow larger and larger? Do you have a coffee can buried in the backyard with your most precious possessions? Or, have you stored your treasures in the one place that matters – heaven?
There is nothing wrong with gaining worldly wealth. The problem comes in when we sacrifice our spiritual lives in pursuit of it. God will bless some of us with more money than others. Some will be better stewards of their money, and, therefore, become richer. Their diligence and wise use of resources will bring them many blessings, but that is vastly different than what we are discussing today.
What defines you? Is it your career? Your status in society? Your country club membership? Or, is it your love of Jesus Christ? Our faith should be what defines us. While there is nothing wrong with pursuing our careers, we should be defined differently. We are sons and daughters of God, first and foremost.
Do not feel like you are alone. Everyone struggles with greed and the pursuit of wealth at one time or another, even in the smallest ways. For me, this verse could not have come at a better time. Lately, I have struggled with this. I don’t have huge aspirations for wealth or getting rich, but I do get frustrated with my career, from time to time. I begin to feel as if I deserve more than what I am currently making. Whether that is true or not, I must always remember that it matters little in the overall scheme of things.
One day, this life will end. At our funerals, our loved ones reflect back on our lives. My hope is that when my eulogy is read, my friends and family will remember me for being a great husband to my wife, a loving father to my children, and, most of all, a true man of faith, someone who loved the Lord with all of his heart. And, with whatever wealth I do gain, that I was giving and generous at all times.
Instead of staying late at the office each night, go home and spend time with your family. Stop working weekends. Don’t spend every evening checking your email from your smartphone. Go on vacation and leave your laptop behind. Stop focusing on your career, and start focusing on the relationships that matter. Spend time with your family, and spend time with God, in prayer, adoration, and regularly attending Mass.
One day, if we make these changes to our lives, we will have stored up more treasures than we could have ever imagined; however, they will not come in the form of large homes, fancy cars, and a swollen wallet, but as treasures in heaven. That, my friends, is the only treasure that matters.