Mt 6:19-23 Where’s The Beef?
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasure in heaven. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”
Do you remember the little old lady in the Wendy’s commercial that shouted out “Where’s the beef?” Well, she did more than boost sales for Wendy’s. This catchphrase became an all-purpose phrase questioning the substance of an idea, event, product and even person. “Where’s the beef?” now means more than just beef.
Where is Christ in your Christianity? If you are buying a hamburger, you would think that the most important ingredient in the hamburger would be the burger, not the bun, or tomatoes, or onions or the lettuce. Of course, all these ingredients are important in a hamburger, but the essential, not accidental, item in a hamburger should be – must be – the meat!
Christians are good people, wholesome people, nice people. We help others. We give. We are generous. We are compassionate. We are a community that helps others regardless of who they are. But what makes Christians different from non-Christians? What is essential to being Christian? The answer is obvious; it comes from our name: Christ.
If we give our time, talents and financial treasure but do not receive Christ's Word, Christ’s sacraments and Christ’s graces, then we will give...something, but not everything. If we are good to people but are not good at being Christ-like, then we will do what is possible, but not what is impossible. This is why so many of us see holes in just about everything we do; in our “social justice curriculum” and even in our homes. We give a lot and get a lot done, but we just don't ever seem to be able to seal the deal. As a community, we give tons of food and clothing but are we sharing our faith, hope, and love? Are we giving what all people need now and in the end? While we are giving our love are we also sharing our faith in Jesus Christ?
Where is Christ in my life? We grow up with tons of goals to achieve. We want to be this. We want to do that. We want to go here. We want to see this. We want to experience that. And there is nothing wrong with any of it, except for the fact that some of our goals were illusions while most of them changed with time. It’s true. I notice it with myself. What seemed so important in my youth, no longer interests me in my maturity. I see it too. I notice how young people love to dress while old people love to be able to dress. Fast cars are at the top of the list for many young men and near the bottom of the list for many young dads. We shouldn’t feel bad for our dads. We should actually feel proud of them. They get it. They’ve grown up. Career is important, like the lower bun of a hamburger. Money is important, like the dressings. Family is important like the top of the bun. But what matters most must be Christ. He is the way, the truth and the life. He is the reason for it all. Where is Christ in my life?
Where is Christ in your children? We spend years of our life to give our children the best. We really do. And that’s a lot…maybe too much. After all, what went wrong with our children? How did they screw things up so bad? How did they become so narcissistic, pessimistic and problematic? Maybe, just maybe, while we were chasing our dreams our kids were having nightmares. While we were enjoying work, they were terrified of school and ‘friends’. Could it be that while we were building our dream home, they were already thinking about selling it? I see the way moms and dads treat their kids. They have only the best in mind. They spend and spend and spend a lot of money to get a safe car and safe car seats; they spend to buy organic foods, use organic detergents and live in ‘safe’ neighborhoods. They want their children to receive the best education possible. They lock the doors at night and turn on the alarm to keep their children safe and sound. So what are we doing wrong? Why are our kids acting like bullies, criminals and delinquents? Why are our kids wasting their youthfulness on drugs and sex? Why are our kids cutting themselves, abusing themselves and killing themselves? You ask, Are they starving? I say yes! Are they dying? Yes! Are you kidding? No! How could they possibly be starving and dying if we are giving them everything? We are not giving them everything. We have given them just about everything but not everything. We have taught them just about everything except the most important things. We have given them just about everyone except the most important One.
What’s missing in our children's lives? Christ! They are starving for Christ. Our kids are dying for Christ.
There are a wide variety of people that influence our children: mom, dad, friends, teachers, coaches, mentors, actors, actresses, musicians, performers, etc…Some people have more influence than others. Some people think they have more influence than others. Some people have way too much influence, period. But there is someone who is just dying to love our child, influence our child and be the most significant other in their life: CHRIST. There is something our kids could use more of and, I promise you, it will never mess them up: faith, hope and charity.
Our treasure is our faith in Jesus Christ and the fruit of our treasure is our personal holiness.
Who would not want that for themselves, for their children and for our world?