I have been thinking a lot about the question we considered last week at Table of Grace. “once I have __________, I will truly be happy.” We can fill in the blank with a dream or goal, such as a college degree, career, relationship, salary, fitness level or whatever it might be for you. I challenged us to think about this question because it reveals what we think is most important to us. I know this question well. It is something that has often motivated me to achieve the next goal in my life. I have learned in that experience that achieving the goal won’t actually make me happy. Just as the finish line comes into view, it seems to move further out no matter how fast I run towards it.
That’s why I take these words of Jesus seriously in my life. In the story, Jesus turns to his disciples and tells them not to worry about anything (Luke 12:22). Our lives are so much more than what we eat, wear, or what we do. The challenge is that everything in our culture invites us to feel like we need something to be complete. I don’t think about the shirts I wear until I see the latest trends. I rarely think about the car I drive until I get the email describing how the latest model is better than the one I drive. I don’t feel the need for a new phone until I see the new iPhone is coming out (well that I might need). It seems that so many voices in my life tell me I need just one more thing to make me happy, except for Jesus. The invitation Jesus offers is to be rich by selling everything.
The wisdom of what Jesus is saying is that true treasure is found when you live for others. When you take the focus off your own happiness and you live to bring joy to others, you will find that your world becomes larger. No thief can take the excitement a child feels as you listen intently when they tell you a story. No moth can destroy the laughter shared around a dinner table. Jesus knows that’s where true treasure is found. When you let go of that which does not matter, you can take hold of the treasure all around you. May your heart be open to those around you. That’s where you will find treasure and happiness that lasts forever.