“Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moth and woodworm destroy them and thieves can break in and steal. But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor woodworm destroys them and thieves cannot break in and steal. For wherever your treasure is, there will your heart be too.” (Mt 6:19–21, NJB)
“Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy.” (Lk 12:32–33, NAB)
When you come to Jesus with petitions, keep the above Gospel passages in mind. In them Jesus speaks about the eternal treasures that you can gain, but he also hints at the inexhaustible treasures he already won for you, and is prepared to give you. Never will they be depleted. Whatever he gives you now will not diminish the amount of gifts that he can give in the future to you or to other people. You can request a hundred things, and he will still have plenty more to give to you and to the rest of the world. Even when he grants your smallest wishes it does not take away the chances of more important prayers being answered.
Jesus declares, “Ask and you will receive, and so your joy will be complete.” (Jn 16:24, NJB) Therefore, ask him for every good thing. Ask away, and build up a trustful relationship with the Lord. He is a very loving and generous friend.
He said, “I have loved you just as the Father has loved me.” (Jn 15:9, NJB) It is not too difficult to recognize his love after your petitions are fulfilled; however, a very blessed target to aim for on your journey towards holiness is to believe in Jesus long before you see the results. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” (Jn 20:29, NJB)
The wonderful passages also explain why we appeal to saints for help. They too have accumulated stockpiles of treasures in Heaven, and the Lord will share his glory through them by giving from their store of goodness.
The passages are precious encouragements and exhortations for you to live a holy life, spurring you on to works of charity and sacrifice. In so doing, you will similarly obtain spiritual treasures for your family and friends, and the Lord will let you participate in his majestic magnanimity by awarding them gifts through you, since they are able to approach you easily. As time goes by, they will be led to trust Jesus more and more as they realize that he is the one behind all the graces.
Here is a child who put his heart in the right place. He gave to Jesus his treasure of the day – the lunch that his mom packed for him as he left the house that morning – and was shown the astonishing effect immediately. Imagine the surprise in his wide-opened eyes, and the happy smile across his little face. How exceedingly delighted he must have been that evening and throughout the rest of his existence on earth and in heaven. “Wow! How did he do that? I only gave him a kid’s meal!” Watch.
“‘There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?’ Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’ Now there was much grass in the place; so the men sat down, in number about five thousand. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost.’ So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten.” (Jn 6:9–13, RSV)
In Jesus’ hands, a few fish burgers were enough to satisfy the hunger of thousands of people. How many souls will be affected for all eternity if you give the merits of your sacrifices and good works to Jesus for him to multiply and distribute?
When you begin to see the love of Jesus working through your life, you may be tempted to think he is like that only once in a while. Resist the temptation. Remember this: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.” (Heb 13:8, RSV) “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” (Jn 13:1, NIV) His faithfulness is continual and everlasting – not only towards the Apostles to whom the above sentence referred before he washed their feet at the Last Supper, but to you as well. “There is no favouritism with God.” (Gal 2:6, NJB)
Of course, Mt 6:19–21 and Lk 12:32–33 do not encompass all there is to holiness, but they present an excellent position from which to move forward. The passage in Luke contains the final part of the response which Jesus gave to the rich young man who came to him with the question: “Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mk 10:17, NJB) We know what happened to him. Jesus said to him: “You need to do one thing more. Go and sell what you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” (Mk 10:21, NJB) On hearing this, his face fell, “and he went away sad.” (Mk 10: 22, NJB) He kept his heart clinging tightly to where it used to be.
There are people who want to be servants of God, but their inner desires and complaints reveal them as unwitting slaves to money – not unlike their glamourous worldly acquaintances. Jesus cautions, “No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or be attached to the first and despise the second. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.” (Mt 6:24, NJB)
Our Lord promised: “So do not worry; do not say, ‘What are we to eat? What are we to drink? What are we to wear?’ It is the gentiles who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on God’s saving justice, and all these other things will be given you as well.” (Mt 6:31–33, NJB)