"In the sight of God it is not the quantity of our assets that is important but the quality of our being."
What is truly important in our lives?
A vacationing American businessman in southern Mexico watched as a small boat with just one young fisherman pulled into the dock. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna.
"How long did it take you to catch them?" the American asked.
"Oh, a few hours," the fisherman replied.
"Why don't you stay out longer and catch more fish?" the businessman asked.
The fisherman replied, "With this I have more than enough to meet my family's needs."
The businessman became serious, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"
Responding with a smile, the fisherman answered, "I sleep late, play with my children, watch ball games, and take siesta with my wife. Sometimes in the evenings I take a stroll into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, sing a few songs..."
The businessman interrupted, "I have an MBA from Harvard, and I can help you to be more profitable. Start by fishing several hours longer every day. Then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra money, you can buy a bigger boat. With the additional income that boat will bring, you can buy a second boat, then a third one, and so on, until you have an entire fleet of fishing boats."
Proud of his own sharp thinking, he continued, "Then, instead of selling your catch to a middleman you'll be able to sell your fish directly to the processor, or even open your own cannery. Eventually, you could control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this tiny village and move to Mexico City, or possibly even Los Angeles or New York City, and even further expand your enterprise."
Having never thought of such things, the fisherman asked, "But how long will all this take?"
"Probably about 15-20 years, maybe less if you work really hard."
"And then what, señor?" asked the fisherman.
"Why, that's the best part!" answered the businessman. "When the time is right, you would sell your company and become very rich. You would make millions."
"Millions? Really? What would I do with it all?" asked the young fisherman in disbelief.
The businessman boasted, "Then you could happily retire with all the money you've made. You could move to a quaint coastal fishing village where you could sleep late, play with your grandchildren, watch ball games, and take siesta with your wife. You could stroll to the village in the evenings where you could play the guitar and sing with your friends all you want."
In the sight of God it is not the quantity of our assets that is important but the quality of our being. This attitude is at odds with a world that measures success by the size of the house you live in and the type of car you drive.
For Christians true success is measured in the way we use our assets in service to others this is how we lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven.
18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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© Lawrence Klimecki
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Deacon Lawrence draws on ancient Christian tradition to create new contemporary art that seeks to connect the physical and the spiritual.. For more information on original art, prints and commissions, Please visit www.DeaconLawrence.org
Lawrence Klimecki, MSA, is a deacon in the Diocese of Sacramento. He is a public speaker, writer, and artist, reflecting on the intersection of art and faith