What matters to God

By | July 28, 2010

The timelines that often mark biographies record one’s birth, death and the key moments in one’s life. These moments hold significance in the eyes of the biographer but in the final analysis may not be, as Jesus says, what matters to God. In the end, on our last day, if we are found rich in the eyes of the “world” but not rich in what matters to God, we will have sadly embraced the worst poverty imaginable. So what does matter to God? To whom or what should our lives be orientated?


Fr. Mark Vander Steeg

St. Paul gives direction today when he writes, “If 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.” Paul reminds us to orientate all things in life, everything we say, do or love, toward their ultimate purpose and fulfillment, God. In fact, how we do what we do or say what we say is all of ultimate significance to God. If it is not in union with his ways of love and truth, then it is not of him and will not last eternally. Our words, actions and deeds are not somehow divorced from our true selves as enfleshed spirits. Thus St. Paul is very clear in his admonition to “Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry. Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator.”

The Gospel of Luke records an encounter of Jesus with a young man who is in danger of becoming orientated towards the things of earth and not the things of God. Jesus was a reader of hearts. Today he seems to observe the beginning of greed in the young man who asks, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” The statement is benign in itself but Jesus heard something deeper taking root and warns the young man to take care to guard against all greed. How is this done? One antidote to greed, the world and attachment is radical generosity.

Radical generosity detaches us from the things of this world and orientates us toward love which is underlies all that matters to God. Generosity often includes leaving the praise with God and this can be accomplished through anonymity as Jesus says “Do not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing.” Can we guard against all self congratulation in the acts, ways and words of love? Perhaps not. In fact, there may be something to be said about “sharing the Master’s joy.” In the end, as scripture states, we will all give an accounting before each other and God regarding “the deeds done in the body.” The psalmist thus calls us to pray to God and ask, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.” A wisdom able to discern what matters to God and then do what matters with great love and generosity.

Questions for Reflection

1. What in my life matters to God?

2. What in my life have I put too much value on?

3. How generous am I?


Fr. Vander Steeg is pastor of St. Mary Parish, Greenville, and St. Edward Parish, Mackville.

Related Posts

Scroll to Top