19th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C
Prioritizing Your Life
Good things happen to those who wait. Jesus expanded on this cliché in this gospel passage—good things happen to those who wait in a prepared mode. In the afternoons when I waited on my kids to come home from school, I could just fill time, do things that felt critical in the moment like pick up the house, do the laundry, or clean out a cupboard. Or I could use that time to get dinner ready. When I didn’t use that time wisely, I paid later with cranky kids and my own frazzled mental state.
Jesus used the Mary and Martha story to showcase differing ways to use time. Martha’s tasks were important, but in that moment, Mary used her time wisely while Jesus was in their house. I know I “pull a Martha” frequently. I choose to check my email or respond to a text rather than acknowledge when someone I love has come into the room. Then when I finally look up, they have moved on and I am filled with regret. Did my email need checking or my text a response? Yes. But did it need to happen right then? Maybe, maybe not
The question is our priorities: where do we place them? On our to-do list, on work, on our appearance, or on the people in our lives?
Ultimate priorities is what Jesus was talking about when He says, “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (v. 34). What have we stored up? Have we stored up vacation time, never taking it? Have we stored up a clean house, not considering the needs of those who use it? Have we stored up a generous safety net, but shortchanged our family, the people we profess to be working for? Whatever we have stored up, that is what we will have to rely on at the end of our days. It doesn’t mean those things don’t need to be taken care of, but if they are our ultimate priority, then that’s what we will ultimately have.
In the end, though the other stuff is definitely hard to turn down, I’d rather have people.
The beauty of it is that Jesus doesn’t ask us to turn down the other stuff. He asks us to prioritize people. There’s a difference. In other words, if we have goods, share them. If love someone, spend time with them. Don’t be greedy. Know your limits. The Father wants “to give you the kingdom” (v. 32). He also knows if our priorities aren’t straight, we’ll never understand the kingdom so we won’t have access to all of His riches, riches we can’t begin to dream of.
When Jesus asks us to wait expectantly, He asks us to prioritize our life, to think mindfully about it, not to blindly follow the crowd. We don’t know when the Master is returning, but we can have our lives in order so that when He does come back, we are as excited to see Him as He is to greet us!