But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19)
What makes you the best version of yourself? For me I think it has a lot to do with these two words: treasuring and pondering. When I am taking time to ponder what God is doing within and around me, and to treasure whatever that may be--as well as, more importantly, treasuring the One who is doing these things--then I tend to be my very best self. The word used here for treasure in the Greek is syntereo, which means "to attend to with great care." It gives the impression that you completely realize that you're holding something of immense value in your hands (or in your heart), so you take the very best care of it you possibly can. You marvel at it, you behold its beauty, you gaze upon it, you are fully captured by it. And the word for ponder is symballo, which means "to bring together in one's mind." It is to think deeply about, to reflect upon, to consider the value and the implications of. The two really go hand-in-hand.
The saints and the poets throughout history have used different words and images to capture these two concepts, as well as to help us understand how to practice them. Julian of Norwich once wrote: "Truth sees God, and wisdom beholds God, and from these two comes the third, and that is a marvelous delight in God, which is love." And A. W. Tozer wrote: "Faith is the gaze of the soul upon a saving God." Mother Teresa once said, "By contemplation the soul draws directly from the heart of God the graces which the active life must distribute." And finally, author Marian Scheele once wrote, "When the soul is occupied by looking away from present trials into the face of Christ, and making this a regular and passionate occupation, this soul will become more tranquil and still, and therefore more able to reflect the Being it adores."
My guess is that how well we are doing at treasuring and pondering will directly effect the quality and depth of our lives. Therefore the question becomes: "How am I doing at treasuring and pondering what God is up to within me and around me these days?" Which then begs the question, "What is God up to within me and around me these days?" Unless we make some time and space to consider these questions, and to treasure and ponder the answers, we will never really stand a chance of being the very best version of ourselves--the version that God dreamt us to be.
And that doesn't just carry implications for us, but implication for those God has called us to as well. We must be very good stewards of whatever God is doing in and around us because that very treasure is not only what God has given to nurture and feed our souls, but also the treasure he has given us to give away to those in our lives and world. I think that's what Jesus was getting at when he said in Matthew: "Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old." (Matthew 13:52)
So today, let us all treasure and ponder. Because as we treasure and ponder our great God we will find that we are the ones treasured and pondered by the One who loves us, treasures us, and delights in us more than we dare ask or imagine. Thanks be to God!