The Joy of Discovering a Treasure
The archaeologist Carter remained for some moments stunned, shocked, almost paralyzed when he introduced a candle in a hole in the untouched tomb of Tutankhamun. He saw the richest treasure ever discovered. The three friends who were with him insistently asked, anxious to know what had bewitched him. He managed to stammer, “Wonderful things, wonderful things!” Were it not for this treasure of Tutankhamen—a pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty, who died at nineteen years old—we barely would remember the name.
Solomon lived in pomp: “I have acquired—he said—silver and gold, the treasure of kings and nations and what most delights people” (Ecl 2:8), but these treasures did not make him famous.
“Treasure” is the most recurrent epithet on the lips of lovers. You cannot live without tying your heart to a treasure; not even God can help it, in fact, “he has chosen Israel as his possession” (Ps 135:4). The treasure of the wise is wisdom: “Not worth mentioning are coral and jasper; the price of wisdom is above the biggest pearl. The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it; it cannot be valued in pure gold” (Job 28:18-19). The rabbis devoted time and energy to it because it is written, “meditate on it day and night” (Jos 1:8) and commented: “Go and look which hour is neither day nor night and consecrate it to other sciences.”
In choosing the treasure one can also be fooled because it is easy to get dazzled, and trust in what is inconsistent, unreliable. Jesus warns us: “Do not store up treasures for yourself here on earth, where moth and rust destroy it, and where thieves can steal it. Store up treasures for yourself with God, where no moth or rust can destroy it, nor thief come and steal it. For where your treasures is, there also will your heart be” (Mt 6:19-21).
Life is to be invested, one has to choose; one needs to wage on a treasure. Which one?
To internalize the message, we repeat:
“Teach us to number our days that we may gain the wisdom of our heart.”