Find­ing true riches

Activated - - FRONT PAGE - By Rosane Pereira Rosane Pereira is an English teacher and writer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and a mem­ber of the Fam­ily In­ter­na­tional. ■

As a child, I loved to visit my grand­mother Sabina’s small house in the moun­tains. Aunt Iota lived next door, so my sis­ter and I would spend our days ex­plor­ing with our cousins, go­ing to the wa­ter­fall, swim­ming in the river that ran be­hind the prop­erty, or climb­ing the many moun­tains in the Man­tigueira Ridge. It was heaven on earth for a city girl like me.

Their fam­ily didn’t have as much ma­te­ri­ally as ours did. Once, my cousin Anette said, “I may not be rich in things, but I am rich in my heart, and Grandma told me that is the most im­por­tant!” That was a new thought for me. Was there an­other kind of riches other than ma­te­rial ones?

I also re­mem­ber how im­pressed I was as a child when my mother took me to see The Ten Com­mand­ments1 at a movie the­ater. Moses could have stayed in his com­fort zone un­til the day he died, but he didn’t—he left ev­ery­thing to free his peo­ple from op­pres­sion. It took me un­til adult­hood to un­der­stand how much it must have cost him to fol­low God.

When I first read the Gospels, one of the sto­ries that stood out to me was the one of the jew­eler who dis­cov­ered a pearl of great price and im­me­di­ately sold all that he had in or­der to buy it. Je­sus ex­plained that this pearl was

2 the king­dom of God, and when I read that, I felt a burn­ing in my heart. I too wanted that pearl!

Je­sus also taught: “Do not lay up for your­selves trea­sures on earth, where moth and rust de­stroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for your­selves trea­sures in heaven, where nei­ther moth nor rust de­stroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your trea­sure is, there your heart will be also.” Be­ing from a met­ro­pol­i­tan

3 beach city with a high crime rate, I un­der­stood that con­cept very well.

As I ma­tured, I came to un­der­stand more clearly that true riches are not things of this earth; they are joy, peace, love, good­ness, faith, and all the other real valu­ables that God wants to give each of us daily. Ours is the easy part, open­ing our souls to re­ceive His gifts. If our trea­sures are in heaven, we will ex­pe­ri­ence God’s joy now and in the life to come.

1. Ce­cil B. DeMille. Para­mount Pic­tures, 1956.

2. See Matthew 13:45–46.

3. Matthew 6:19–21

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