Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal (John 6:27).
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be (Matthew 6:19-21).
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides (Matthew 6:33).
If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4).
Ignatius of Loyola was a sixteenth-century Spanish knight who loved fighting battles and wooing beautiful women. At least that was the case until a cannonball shattered his leg and forced him to spend months in bed recuperating. He was bored, and the only books available were a life of Christ and the lives of the saints. As he read, Ignatius noticed something interesting: When he thought about chivalry and fighting victorious battles, he would be happy for a time – it was food that perishes. But when he thought about Christ and the saints, the happiness that he felt was deeper and didn’t fade – it was food that endures (John 6:27).
Isn’t that the case in our own lives? Perhaps we are initially happy with the latest electronic gadget or a new car. But soon it loses its attraction. Despite what advertisers tell us, our lives are much richer when we invest ourselves in things that endure. God created us for love, not just to acquire things. He created us to love him and to love one another, not to love things that we can buy.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that God wants us all to live like ascetics. Especially if we have families, we have to be concerned about providing for their needs. What’s more, God doesn’t want to deprive us of the things of this world. Rather, he wants to make sure we are focusing on him first. That’s what makes all the difference!
Today, think about how you spend your time and your money. Think about the way you use your gifts and talents. A quick glance at your check book can give you a good glimpse into your priorities. But that’s not the only thing to look at. Take a look also at the things that preoccupy your mind. Are they primarily of “what is on earth” or “what is above” (Colossians 3:1-2)?
Jesus told us that wherever our treasure lies, there our hearts lie as well (Matthew 6:21). Are you seeking his kingdom first (Matthew 6:33)? Where can you do better? If you see a need for change, in your times of prayer ask the Holy Spirit to help you. And don’t worry. Through the food of the Scriptures and the Eucharist, Jesus can show you the path to life and to food that endures for eternal life (John 6:27)!
“Lord, want to invest myself in the things that last forever. Help me to make you first in every area of my life.”
Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing me to adapt meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.
[Maurice Blumberg is the Director of Partner Relations for The Word Among Us Partners, (http://www.waupartners.org/), a ministry of The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) to the Military, Prisoners, and women with crisis pregnancies or who have had abortions. Maurice was also the founding Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men (http://www.nfcmusa.org/), for which he is currently a Trustee. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.]
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
- Take some time to meditate and reflect on the Scriptures at the beginning of the article. What do you think God is trying to reveal to you through them?
- In the article, we hear these words about St. Ignatius: “When he thought about chivalry and fighting victorious battles, he would be happy for a time – it was food that perishes. But when he thought about Christ and the saints, the happiness that he felt was deeper and didn’t fade – it was food that endures (John 6:27).” Why do you believe this was so? What about yourself. What thoughts give you only temporary happiness? What thoughts give you lasting joy? Why?
- The article goes on to say these words: “Take a look also at the things that preoccupy your mind. Are they primarily of ‘what is on earth’ or ‘what is above’ (Colossians 3:1-2)?” How would you answer this question?
- St. Matthew tells us to: “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides” Matthew 6:33).What steps can you take to spend more of your time seeking the Kingdom of God?
- Take some time now to pray for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit and the grace to put the Lord and his kingdom first in your life. Use the prayer at the end of the article as a starting point.