The story is told of a lady who had a very willful and spoiled child. One day when a wasp flew in the window, the youngster began crying for it because it looked so pretty with its brilliant colors. Finally, the mother called the one who was caring for the child from another room, asking, “What in the world is that child crying for? Will you please give it to him!” It wasn’t long before she heard a loud scream. “What is the matter now?” shouted the mother. “He got what he wanted,” was the calm reply.
Quite often the things we think will bring us happiness and joy bring only heartache and pain. This is why we must not spend our time longing for things we do not possess as though the mere possession of those things will bring us happiness. Instead, we need to be thankful and content for the things we have been given so that, when we are blessed with more, we will glorify God. Jesus often warns us about the trap of materialism. He writes, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions” (Lk. 12:15). Far too often, in our society, a man is measured by what he owns. But this is a false and foolish standard for it neither measures a man’s true worth nor his eternal destiny. Jesus taught us to seek for treasures in heaven by fixing our hearts on those things which are spiritual and eternal. He said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19–21). Likewise, the apostle Paul wrote: “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory” (Col. 3:1–4). This is the only way to ensure happiness when we finally receive that for which we have been longing. In the end, what will it matter if we gain the whole world but lose our soul? (Matt. 16:26).