What Matters Most?

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:21

Where is your heart? Or as I like to ask this question, what matters most? There’s an ancient Zen saying that “the most important thing is remembering the most important thing.” Jesus seems to want us to consider this question. So take a moment to reflect: where is your heart? your treasure? what really matters to you?

There are no right or wrong answers. It can be as simple as spending more time with the people you love. Or perhaps cultivating your faith and deepening your relationship with God. Maybe it’s volunteering more, or even prioritizing self-care. Whatever it is, stop and think about why this is important to you. Probably, it has something to do with feelings of meaning, happiness, gratitude, and love. The “treasures” we find where our hearts lie.

Now, considering what matters most to you, ask yourself: do I live as if this is true? In other words, am I using my time and resources as if this thing really does matter to me? It’s worth pondering, because when we examine our actions and intentions of our lives, we may be surprised to find that they are often not in line with what is most important. Instead, we prioritize material gain, seeking happiness in the accumulation of more money, possessions, success, and power. Although our culture remains trapped in a trance of believing these things will bring happiness, when we look carefully, we can see that they do not. They do not lead to real treasure the way that which really matters to us does when we stop and think about it.

We recently began the season of Lent with Ash Wednesday and a reminder of this: all those material things we seek will not last forever, and we ourselves come from and return to dust. A symbol of ashes on our foreheads is the reminder: our lives are impermanent along with all we try to hold onto and chase after. Seeking self-gain will never lead us to abundant life and happiness.

In fact, we find it in the opposite – in giving, in caring, in relationship. Chances are that whatever you thought of as most important to you had one of these elements. Whether it’s in service to others, or spending your time and care with those in which you are in relationship, even if it is taking care of yourself, it’s about giving of ourselves and our attention. Remind yourself often of what matters most. Write it down on a card and keep it next to your bed, or by the phone, so you remember first thing in the morning. Keep coming back to it, and you will find more and more where your heart lies. And there your treasure is also.

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