There is a mashal (parable) that describes the experience that some of us have in this world.
A man had a lot of struggles with earning parnassah (income). He heard that there is an island somewhere that’s covered in diamonds. So he does some research and decides he should go there to collect some diamonds for his poor family. He’d have to take a loan to travel to this far away place, but it would be worth it. He takes a loan, and travels there, and on the ship as he’s approaching, he sees the land glistening in the distance. He gets very excited.
He arrives in the new place and picks up a few diamonds, and goes to buy himself a meal. The guy selling food laughs at him when he tried paying with precious diamonds. He said “this is not currency here”. And slowly but surely, he learns that here in this land, where precious jewels cover the ground, they are indeed not currency – but instead, the currency is chicken fat!
At some point, he becomes so invested in the business world there, becomes quite “successful” at earning “wealth” there. For next year, he “saves up” “money” to make as much as possible before the next ship home comes to town. Eventually, after a long time, a ship home is coming and he buys a ticket excitedly to go home with all his “wealth”.
When his wife greets him at the door she says “my husband, you’ve been gone for so long – what did you bring back for us?” When he unpacks his suitcases and they are full of chicken fat she begins to cry. “Has my husband gone crazy???”
In this world, the word “success” implies having money – and money is the currency here. But we should understand that in the next world, the currency here will be chicken fat there. And the Torah and Mitzvos that are here and available to us for the taking are really the precious valuable diamonds in front of us everywhere. We should never let our long but short stay in this world cause us to forget our true mission and that which retains it’s value into the next world – Torah, Mitzvos, Chesed, and Tzedakah.
Hashem should bless us to always remember our true mission. May we merit to see the coming of the Moshiach speedily in our days, Amen.