Replacing earthly treasures with spiritual joy
Where do our treasures lie? Scripture is very clear where our treasures should lie:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” — Matthew 6:19-21
I remember when my father passed away and my mother and I were preparing our family home in Charleston to be sold and for an estate sale, My mother looked at me and said: “What do you want from the house? The Gorham silverware? The Lenox china dishes? The art collection?”
I looked at her and said “I only want one thing. Coco.”
Coco was the Yorkie dog that I had gifted to my father as a puppy. I asked for Coco because she was the one thing inside the home that I loved, truly loved, other than my mother, of course. I didn’t take the silverware or the china.
Some may see me as a fool. And yes, I am a fool. I am a fool for God’s love and the riches that He bestows upon us. I was never attached to earthly riches, though they are beautiful, and certainly do matter. But, the riches of spirit are eternal. As has been said, “Spiritual gifts multiply, earthly riches divide.” I would no more value someone if they had the ability to take me out to a five-star dinner every night of the week, to lovely concerts, shows, or trips around the world, cruises, shower me with gifts or diamond jewelry than if we could only share peanut butter crackers and watch television together or go for a walk. I value the gift of the heart more than anything.
We want to see the evidence in the world of another’s caring or love. And because we live in such a material culture, we have sadly come to believe the evidence of love is what we can hold in our hands, accumulate and quantify. That is so far from the truth. And it has caused great hardship and emotional anxiety, even depression. It has caused false relationships, marriages, even divorce.
“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” — 2 Corinthians 4:18.
This circles me back to my experiences in caregiving and being with those who transition into eternity. As our physical body weakens and the threads and attachments that bind us to the earth lessen, our spirit takes greater precedence in our lives. The cares of the earth fade away, and focus moves to the eternal. I often reference my mother’s words in her last days prior to her passing, no longer able to walk, to eat, but she could still speak. “There is nothing left for us to do but wait for Jesus to take me.” What a beautiful and powerful conviction of faith. She was at peace. She knew where her soul not only desired to rest but she was certain that her Lord and savior would not forsake her and would come for her.
This is not only the way we should live in our most tragic moments; it is how we should live in every moment. He is our home. He is our refuge. He is our comfort. He is our greatest gift. And the gift that will not only bring us temporal joy — like so many others gifted to us on this earth, but the gift that will reign in eternity.
Jackie Morfesis has a BFA in fine arts, MA in liberal studies and teacher certification from Rutgers University. She held a Rotary Scholarship to Greece in the arts and humanities. An artist, poet and educator, she is a Greek Orthodox Christian and involved with prison ministry in the Charleston area.