Everyone has their treasure

I’ve written before about my mother’s belief that “… all things work for good for those who love God …” My Mom knew from personal experience that even though things may seem to be going wrong, if we hang on to our faith in God, all things will be well.

“The kingdom of heaven is like … a treasure buried … a pearl of great price …” Every day it seems that we hear stories of store closings and layoffs in retail sales and manufacturing due to online competition and the increasing price of foreign oil. Some people are calling for the use of alternative power – wind, solar, nuclear, etc. Others would solve the crisis by drilling new wells and constructing pipelines in previously protected areas of our country.

Debates rage; do we protect pristine lands here at the expense of third world devastation? Do we divert funding to farmers who grow corn for ethanol? What are the consequences of wind turbines on migrating birds? Where do we go with nuclear waste? Do we really have the right to shoot our garbage out into space?

Everyone has their treasure. For some it’s the environment; for others it’s the availability of cheap fuel. Concern about carbon emissions leads auto manufacturers to design more fuel-efficient vehicles for a population that treasures its transportation independence. Conservationists point to the environmental impact of drilling and mining not only here at home, but on foreign rain forests and grasslands as well; but what some see as a crisis, others view as an opportunity. How we respond will depend largely on what we treasure.

“… [A]ll things work for good for those who love God …” But loving God cannot be limited to an hour on Sunday. Loving God demands that we also love all that God has created. Loving God demands that we love the Divine Spirit present in every man and woman, no matter where they live. Do we see the land as treasure, or only as an opportunity for exploitation? What do we value? Who do we value? Will the challenges of our times work for good? Or will we forget and buy the wrong field?

Van Benthem is a member of the Secular Franciscan Order and a longtime pastoral minister in the diocese.