Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Luke 12:32-34
For it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom! If that is so...then the hold up is … ? I think immediately of the famous Pogo cartoon line, "We have met the enemy and he is us!" whether it's a cigar in the lemonade or contemplation of the forest full of litter.
What IS our treasure? Where is our own heart's desire found? The unfailing treasure is eternal and found in the present moment (meditation one). But because of the layers of misplaced values, finding our treasure may require a kind of quest. Ultimately, the treasure is found within our very selves (meditation two). Throughout scripture, God's heart is with with anawim, the little ones who seek God for deliverance, the poor, the widows, the orphans, the disenfranchised, the marginalized, the sick, the stranger, the maimed. Jesus also embraced these as the bearers of the kingdom, and the church's treasure, too, is found among the poor (meditation three).
Some of us may have to change our idea of treasure. Carlo Carretto discovered early in life that "if I want to be happy on earth I must fall madly in love with God and the things of God."
May you find and know your true treasure! -Suzanne
Meditation One (introit) unfailing treasure
Nor does the lesson apply to those only who worship Mammon, who give their lives, their best energies to the accumulation of wealth: it applies to those equally who in any way worship the transitory; who seek the praise of men more than the praise of God; who would make a show in the world by wealth, by taste, by intellect, by power, by art, by genius of any kind, and so would gather golden opinions to be treasured in a storehouse of earth. -George MacDonald 1824-1905
Gratitude for the present moment and the fullness of life now is the true prosperity.
-Eckhart Tolle The Power of Now
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.
and sometimes you might have to plough that field ... sg
Jesus said, "What the kingdom resembles is a man who possessed a hidden treasure in his field without knowing it. And [upon] dying he left it to his [son]. The son [was] not aware of the fact. He assumed (ownership of) the field and sold it. And the person who bought it came plowing, [found] the treasure, and began to lend out money at interest to whomever he wished."
-Gospel of Thomas logion 109 (trans. Layton)
By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
(Illumination: Building the Temple of Solomon from Petrus Comestor's Bible Historiale, 1372)
St. Lawrence Distributes the Church Treasure to the Poor, Fra Angelico, 1447
Meditation Two (insight) where to look
The treasure generally lies deep in some cavern or buried underground. Its position symbolizes the difficulties inherent in its quest, but above all the fact that human effort is essential. The treasure is not freely given by Heaven and is only to be found at the end of a long series of ordeals. This bears witness to the fact that the buried treasure is spiritual and moral and that these ordeals, battles with monsters, with the elements and with robbers along the road belong, like the obstacles themselves, to the moral and spiritual order. The buried treasure is a symbol of the inner life and the monsters which guard it none other than aspects of ourselves. -Jean Chevalier, Alain Gheerbrant, (trans. John Buchanan-Brown) The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols
The truth is that the treasure lies within our very selves. -Teresa of Avila
Meditation Three (integration) the church's treasure
As Sixtus was led away to be jailed and tortured, he gave all the treasures of the church into Laurence's care to be dispensed to the poor. Blessed Laurence then sought out Christians by day and by night, and ministered to all according to their needs.... The soldiers, hearing of money, took Laurence and presented him to the general Decius. Decius said to him, "Where is the church's money, which we know is hidden with you?" Laurence requested a delay of three days. During the three days Laurence brought together the poor, the lame, and the blind, and then presented them before Decius in the palace, saying, "See here the eternal treasure, which never diminishes but increases. It is divided among these people and is found in all of them, for their hands have carried the treasure off to heaven." -Jacob of Voragine ca.1230-1298 The Golden Legend (quoted from Gail Ramshaw's Treasures Old and New: Images in the Lectionary)
The Last Word I have long known that if I want to be happy on earth I must fall madly in love with God and the things of God. -Carlo Carretto 1910-1988
Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect for Proper 14 American Book of Common Prayer