Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


Dear God: Where’s the Beef, I Mean Treasure?

posted by Beyond Blue

treasure chest2.jpg

Dear God,

In today’s reading (Matthew 13:44-46), Jesus says to his disciples:

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.

I can’t get that old bag of a Wendy’s woman out of my mind, the one who’d lift all the buns of the burgers and say “Where’s the beef?” I’m picturing someone out on a scavenger hunt, who finds the treasure, but psyches out the other guys, until he has the whole field to himself … like a religious version of the reality show “Survivor.”

I’ve been asking myself what, exactly, is the treasure Jesus is speaking about. Is our unique gifts and talents and desires, as is indicated in Matthew 6:21: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be”?

Maybe.

Or is it the still quiet voice inside of us that we hear when we manage to silence our thought, as is written in my favorite Psalm verse (Psalm 46:10): “Be still and know that I am God.”

Very possibly.

This seems too easy, but are you saying the kingdom of God is the treasure? In other words, don’t invest yourself too much in this world because it’s not the one that matters. And don’t concern yourselves too much with being liked and successful, because Your selection process operates a little differently.

I think so.

All You care about is that we have tried to love as deeply and as generously as we could.

That’s the treasure.

That by losing our life, we gain it. By dying, we are given eternal life. By forgiving, we are forgiven. It’s every line of the Prayer of St. Francis and more. The treasure is this prayer by Mother Teresa:

Dear Jesus,
Help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go
Flood our souls with your Spirit and life
Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly
That our lives may only be a radiance of yours.
Shine through us
And be so in us
That every soul we come in contact with
May feel your presence in our soul.
Let them look up and see no longer us
But only Jesus.
Stay with us
And then we shall begin to shine as you shine,
So to shine as to be light to others.
The light, O Jesus, will be all from you.
None of it will be ours.
It will be you shining on others through us.
Let us thus praise you in the way you love best
By shining on those around us.
Let us preach you without preaching
Not by words, but by our example
By the catching force
The Sympathetic influence of what we do
The evident fullness of the love our hearts bear to you.

I think that I’m like the old Wendy’s lady too much of the time … searching for peace here and there, in projects and in relationships … under all kinds of hamburger buns. But the treasure isn’t there. The beef isn’t about the size of the burger. It’s about what we do with our meat … wait, that sounds bad … and knowing that nothing we do is about us. It’s about You, God, in us … and about getting out of the way so that you can help us love well and deeply and generously.

To read more Beyond Blue, go to www.beliefnet.com/beyondblue, and to get to Group Beyond Blue, a support group at Beliefnet Community, click here.



  • Barbara formerly Babs

    This morning I was talking with my very wise daughter. They are (the family) planning an overnight trip to Maryland to visit their Aunt Lucy to celebrate Lucy’s thirtieth birthday. They haven’t taken a vacation, just hung out around the neighborhood playing during their summer break. My daughter spoke about the lies we tell ourselves, and our children. That having name brand stuff, whether clothing or expensive cars, or even great vacation destinations, will bring us happiness. Her children, like all kids, are bombarded with messages about how to be happy: have a perfect body, an enviable wardrobe, what you want, when you want it. So why are the kids so excited to stay overnight with Aunt Lucy? Because they get to go to Whole Foods and pick out a little cake to eat with the rest of the family.
    I think it isn’t the special, or great adventures we have, that make life meaningful. It is the little cake that has become a tradition. A tradition is something we can depend on not to change, and it is something shared with others we love.
    That is why God is so important, because we can always depend upon Him. He is the Tradition par excellance. It isn’t how well we manage our lives that impress Him. It isn’t the big salary, that gets His approval. It isn’t the way we can slug our way through life without help, that makes God proud of us. It is the very countercultural act of dependence, like little children, that gives God delight. It is the appreciation of the small things (like little cakes) that God sends our way every single day, that delights God.
    Out of the Love we recognize, we are able to Love, genuinely and deeply, forgetting ourselves and needs in the process, because we know that we have all we really need.
    When we are able to stop asking, “Is this all there is,” (where’s the beef?) we can say with gratitude, “This is all I need.”

  • Kate

    Barbara – that is a lovely post. Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    Bbs: “By gworge, I think she’s GOT it! Isn’t it amazing when we experience those special “Mom moments” that prove that our kids were listening all along when we were sure they weren’t?Now, those moments are something to TREASURE. They make me think of that Fiddler On the Roof song that desribes so well they wonder of seeing the adults our children have become. Can’t remember the title, but it begins”…Is this the little girl I carried? Is this that little boy at play?…” It happens so fast that we nearly miss it and at the same time seems to take FOREVER to get here, if you know what I mean (Which f course you DO, having witnessed the wisdom your daughter is displaying now.I couldn’t help but laugh when my own son began working and thus buying his own clothes. Suddenly his “tighty whities” didn’t have to be Calvin Kliens after all; he COULD wear Fruit of the Loom or Hanes! That was a day I thougt would NEVER come, but it did…right behind learning to shut doors during the winter or turn out lights when leaving a room!
    For me, the treasure has been the reward of seeing him emerge into adulthood as a caring, compassionate young man who will reach out to support a friend who is grieving or sick, an adult who at seventeen had matured enough to give a portion of his grandfather’s eulogy despite the fact that they had butted headsfrequently during my boy’s youth. (Think “Archie Bunker” with a racially mixed grandchild. He didn’t tr to sugar coat Daddy’s reality, but he WAS able to pull out the nuggets of gold he’d gained from my old man! There wasn’t a dry eye in the room (Afterthe laughter brought on by hs opening statement about how his grandfather was always right…even when he was wrong he was right” had disipated.

  • Valerie

    Therese
    You really hit the nail on the head! Great reminder to me to stop looking for my treasure or my “inner peace” in the right meditation CD or in the right weight loss book or in the right herbal remedy, etc. Granted, I know I need to do some of this stuff in order to stay healthy but…I need to remember that the only thing that is going to fill that hole in my soul is Jesus. That’s what I need to fill my life with.
    Thanks Therese, Valerie

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