Many of us at some point in our lives would confess to having been intrigued at the prospect of discovering a hidden treasure or enjoying a windfall. It’s that impetus in us that motivates some to part with money in the purchase of a lottery ticket. For others it might be the stock market and for some adventurers it’s the search for treasure spirited away in the holds of a sunken ship.
As life moulds us and fashions us however we hopefully begin to understand that “real treasure” exists not in the material realm but rather in the realm of our relationships. How has our relationships coloured and added texture to our lives? Have we endeavoured to put time and energy into cultivating and maintaining sound relationships with those around us? Have we invested time and energy in the spiritual realm and in nurturing a relationship with our Creator?
Understanding the value and embracing the need to cultivate our inter-personal relationships opens us spiritually to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Our relationship with our God is, after all, about “love” and grasping that reality permits a paradigm shift in our approach to this life.
Seeking and developing our relationship with God opens us gradually but inevitably to God’s revelation. When we are open to that revelation we will receive and receiving is a gift from God. St Peter was open to receive because he left himself open to understand who Jesus was. As Jesus himself said “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but my Heavenly Father”.
St Paul alludes in his writings to the depth of the wisdom and the knowledge of God. How are we with our finite minds to glimpse this wisdom and this knowledge? Certainly not by our own devices. What is essential in our pilgrimage is that we endeavour to be open to the mind of Christ in all that we say and do. That essentially means that we give shelter to and heed the direction of the Holy Spirit who comes to live within us. We cannot possibly understand Christ’s mind in our natural human condition. We need first to discover the treasure that is the Holy Spirit. This enables us to filter what we receive utilizing not simple human wisdom but rather the discernment provided by the Holy Spirit. We may then be confident that we are open to receive the gift of God’s revelation and His revelation will set us free from the constraints of our own human reasoning.
It may not of course be obvious to the casual observer that the approach of an individual to matters of substance in this life differs markedly from that evident in the mainstream unless that individual reflects in his or her daily living the values of love that identify that individual as a follower of Jesus. What is so exciting is that we can all bring others to Jesus not necessarily by what we say but more importantly by how we live the Gospel message. To effectively do that we have to be full of the Holy Spirit so that we become efficient receivers of God’s grace which is after all the process by which we are transformed and it’s that transformation that causes us to be the “salt of the earth”. It all starts at the relationship level. Do we want a relationship with God? If so, are we prepared to be open to His Spirit? If so, what concrete steps can we take now to develop our personal relationship with our Creator and how will that enable us in discipleship to bring others to the wonder and the joy of knowing Jesus?
These are important questions to ponder! Let each of us reassess our own relationship with God in an effort to be more open to His love and His direction. After all He wants each of us to spend an eternity with Him and to be the influence or one of the influences that lead others to His heavenly Kingdom.
Have a look at the Book of Ruth. The story of Ruth makes it clear that we don’t have to be perfect ourselves to minister God’s love. We simply need to be prepared to make ourselves available and to do our best. Ruth acting out of love for her mother-in law, Naomi, leaves her extended family and her own culture to accompany the widowed Naomi back to Israel and ultimately to provide for her. Ruth reflected the love, compassion and service that we are all called to and she foreshadowed Jesus whose whole life was dedicated to service. As Disciples of Jesus each of us is called firstly to love and secondly to act out of love in service to our brothers and sisters many of who might not know Jesus but for our efforts to emulate Him.
May the Holy Spirit be the conveyor of God’s grace to each of us and transformed by that grace may we take on the mind of Christ in our inter-personal relationships and help build the Kingdom.