The Most Important Thing in the World
Opening Question: What things do people avoid because are so hard they get frustrated?
First Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:2, 2:21-23
"This is useless!" Jamie cried. She hated math worse than anything else. And her grades showed it. Not matter how hard she tried, she just couldn't get it.
Her parents and teachers tried to help. Jamie spent time after school with the teacher. She had private tutors helping her. She was threatened and promised rewards to bring up her math grade. Jamie signed contracts with her teachers and parents. She spent extra homework time doing math. But nothing seemed to work.
Lately, Jamie's frustration with math began to creep into her other studies. "If I'm not good at math," Jamie thought, "why do I think I might be good at my other subjects? I'm just not smart!" Like her math grade, her other grades began to slip. Her teachers and parents noticed that Jamie just didn't seem to care.
Jamie had a disease. It's not like a disease of the body; it is a disease of the spirit. It's the "Useless" disease. Once someone thinks something is useless, it's easy to think other things are useless. If school isn't important, then family isn't important, then friends, then yourself.
But you're important, your friends are important, you family is important, and school is important. So fight back against the useless disease.
Sometimes, you are not good at math, or school, or sports, or... But you are good at something. Look and find those things, be the best at them, and be proud of them. You're worth it!
Bridging Question: What is the most important thing you have? What is the most important thing you own? What is the difference?
Gospel: Luke 12:13-21
Someone in the crowd that surrounded Jesus yelled out, "Teacher! Tell my brother to share what my dead father left us!"
"Hey, buddy!" Jesus shot back. "Who made me your judge?" Then Jesus said to the crowd, "Watch out! Guard against every kind of greed! Someone's life is not equal to everything he owns!"
Jesus continued with a parable. "One year, the land a rich man owned had a great harvest. 'What will I do?' the rich man wondered. 'I don't have a place big enough to put the harvest.' Then he got an idea. 'I know what to do. I'll tear down my old barns, build bigger ones, and store everything I have there. Then I'll say to myself, 'Congratulations! You have a lot of stuff that will last a very long time. So, relax! Eat! Drink! Party everyday!'
'You, fool!' God told the rich man. 'Tonight, you will die! Who will get all that stuff you saved?' The same thing will happen to those people who build up their own treasures, but who do not grow rich in God's eyes."
Brandon and Allison were twins, but that's where the similarity ended. They were as different as they could be. Brandon liked his toys. His PlayStation 2. His motorized scooter. His clothes. The home entertainment center in his room. His computer. His time and his world were spent around his toys. But he had very few friends.
Allison had many friends. In fact, her friends were the most important in her life. She would rather spend time with her friends than earn money. In fact, Allison did not have much money at one time. She always spent it on her friends.
When they were together, Brandon and Allison barely spoke to each other. At dinner time, Brandon could barely wait to get back to his toys. Allison could barely wait to get back to her friends on the phone. The twin's parents could almost taste the tension when Brandon and Allison were together.
One day the tension could have reached a breaking point. Brandon stormed into the living room and yelled at his parents, "My computer keeps crashing. The cable is out on the TV. And I don't have any new games to play on my PlayStation." Then Brandon stood silently with a "what are you going to do about it" look on his face.
Allison broke into the room crying and shattered the effect Brandon was trying to achieve. " I just got into a fight with my two best friends!" Allison howled. She gazed on her mother with a "fix me, I'm broken" look on her face.
At the same moment, twins realized they were in the same room at the same time. Brandon and Allison turned toward each other and locked stares. Brandon didn't know what to do. Should he yell at her for interrupting? Or, should he laugh at her for her silly little problem? Allison, too, didn't know what to do. Should she yell at Brandon for spoiling a special time with her mother? Or should she scoff at Brandon for losing himself in so many toys?
For a moment, the twins looked at each other with deadly looks. Then, their father spoke up, "Why don't you two play with each other?"
"What?" they both said at the same time. They stood in shock.
"You know," their father continued. "PLAY with each other. Brandon, you spend too much time with your toys. And Allison, you spent too much time with your friends."
"Yes," their mother jumped in. "Go into the backyard and play TOGETHER. In fact, Brandon your room and the garage are off limits until supper time. Allison, your room and the phone are off limits until we eat. Now go and play."
Brandon and Allison stood there dumbfounded.
"GO!" the twins' parents said together.
For the next half hour, the tension in the back yard was very real. Then, slowly, the tension eased as the twins began to talk to each other. Then, as the twins' mother prepared dinner, she overheard laughter coming from the backyard. Just about the same time, their father entered the kitchen. He, too, heard the laughter. He also heard their mother breathe a sigh of relief.
The family shared one of the best dinners they ever had together that night. Brandon and Allison did talk about their problems, but they discussed them with each other. After dinner, Brandon and his father went to reconnect the cable to the TV and ran some utility programs to fix the computer. Allison called her friends and they all made up. Then something unusual happened. "Come into my room," Brandon said to his sister. "I got a new video I bet you'd like to see."
"Okay!" Allison replied smiling.
Brandon may have been a successful toy owner. And Allison may have been a successful friend. But as brother and sister they failed. Until they spent time with each other. The twins were like the rich man in the story. He spent all his time getting rich with stuff. But he didn't spend time having a rich relationship with God. So, when he died, he had nothing.
Spend time with God. Spend time with each other. Then you will have riches that will last forever.
Take time this week for God, your family and friends. See how much your heart grows. That's true wealth!
Closing Question: Who needs you to spent time with them? How can you spent that time with them?