Life Lesson: The heart follows the treasure

Published 8:54 pm Thursday, November 30, 2017

Life’s simplest lessons seem to stick with you.

That was the case with one I learned 25 years ago.

I listened during worship in Irving, Texas one Sunday morning to an eloquent church teacher say a few words before the Lord’s Supper. I could not tell you who preached the hour sermon that morning, but I remember Mr. George Hogland’s short benediction that followed.

Brother Hogland — from Lubbock, Texas — emphasized what the Lord’s Supper should mean to everyone who was there. As he spoke, he referred to an old familiar passage over in Matthew’s gospel, where the Lord says something simple, yet profound.

“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Perhaps that is when I sat up and began to listen more carefully to the older gentleman, now 85 years old. Or perhaps it was when he drew his illustration. He said that a few years back his daughter Kathy had surgery in an old red brick hospital in Lubbock — probably one that looked a lot like LaGrange’s hospital in the old days. He said that while she was in that hospital having surgery, there was no way he could drive by and say, “Oh, that’s just an old brick building. That building doesn’t mean very much. It doesn’t hold any particular value. Why, there are a hundred buildings just like it all over town, and some of them are much nicer, with more classic architecture and much more historical value.”

Oh, no. He could never say that: You see, in this old red building was something very special. That building housed his daughter. Inside its walls was his treasure, so no other red brick building could measure up. Not only was his treasure in that building, but his heart was too.

Where your treasure is, there will your heart be.

As he spoke that Sunday morning, I remembered then our own story.

In 1985 — when my son Mal was five — he had to have surgery on his palate. I remember distinctly how happy and gleeful he was the morning of the surgery, not fully understanding the impact of what was about to happen — not only of the surgery but the aftermath of having his little arms in restraints so he would not disturb the stitches, and having to eat out of a dropper or a straw for a time. He had no idea of that.

That was part of the reason when the white-clad nurses wheeled him to surgery that morning, I went to the nearest secluded place I could find, to be alone.

The next day — Mal still in the hospital — I had to leave for work. But as I drove away from that hospital — leaving a 5-year-old son with mom — my heart could not help but ache. It longed to be there. Many of you understand the feeling too well.

My body may have been driving away, but my heart stayed behind at Texas Children’s Hospital, downtown Houston.

I thought of that time again this week — and I thought of Mr. Hogland’s eloquent speech — as Mal again had surgery, this time in L.A.’s UCLA hospital.

It was a similar surgery as the other 30 years ago – the doctors having to break his jaw to reset it and clean up some of the scar tissue from that surgery when he was 5, then another again at 7.

All day Wednesday — home in Texas — I kept in touch with Mal and mom, who was there faithfully — just as before.

As I went about my business, I could not help thinking as before:

My body may have been Texas, but this time my heart was in Los Angeles.

Mr. Hogland, thanks, again, for reminding me of a lesson that sticks with you:

Wherever your treasure is, your heart surely will follow.

Steven Ray Bowen is a former Granger who lives and writes in Red Oak, Texas.