Here’s a quick quiz for you.
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
4. Name five people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.
5. Name the last five Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last five year’s worth of World Series winners.
How did you do? Me either! The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades, awards, and certificates are often buried with their owners.
When I was in college, I remember the University of Arizona baseball coach, Jerry Kindall, speaking to a Christian group I was with. He was an excellent major league ball player in his day. He pulled out his World Series ring and showed it to us. He said there was a time in his life when he almost sold his soul to be able to obtain that ring. It meant everything to him. As he was preparing to speak with us that night, he had to search high and low to find the ring. He finally located it in his sock drawer underneath a pile of socks!! His point was simply that giving our lives to gain the world’s treasures really amounts to nothing. Even if we gain the treasure it will mean nothing in a very short time. He went on to say that the real treasures we need to strive for are the ones we lay up in heaven. These come from our relationship with God and our relationship with those around us.
Now this can easily be applied to our personal lives or our work! Have you ever observed someone “selling their soul” to make the next rung on the ladder of success? Promotions and titles also get buried with their owners. Even if they make it, the cost to their lives… especially their inner selves… can be so very great. The change can be slow, but family and friends begin to see it or at least feel the change. No matter how much a person might think they can live one life at work and another at home… there is really only one life that each of us lives. It is similar to the person who thinks they can appear one way at Church and yet live another way the rest of the week. We are all simply one person… living one life. The relevant question in this article is “Where are we laying up our treasure?”
Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:
1. List a teacher who aided your journey through school.
2. Name a friend who has helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name a person who has taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a person who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of someone you enjoy spending time with.
6. Name a hero whose story has inspired you.
Easier? You bet! The lesson? The people who make the biggest difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, the most awards, or the best promotions. They are the ones that care! And just as true: You make the biggest difference in other people’s lives not because of your credentials… or money… or awards… or promotions… but rather you touch their lives because you truly care about them!
Jesus has the final word on where we put our treasures: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)