Since the mid-1990’s, I have been employed in roles where I have managed individuals. With that responsibility comes the task of hiring new employees. Over the years, I have read countless resumes that pontificate the values of individuals whom I have never met. In a relatively short document, individuals provide information that is supposed to articulate how they would be an ideal candidate for my organization or that they are worthy of me spending more time to get to know.
I have been around long enough to recognize some of the buzz words and phrases that are supposed to make me believe that these candidates would be a great person to hire. Words and phrases such as “ability to multitask” and “able to prioritize key issues” have been popular for many years.
If a person can “multitask”, he or she has the ability to perform several tasks at the same time. Really? Think about how many things your brain can focus on at once. I’ll take a wild guess and say that the answer is one! Can any of us really multitask or are we really working on one task for a little bit, then a different task for a little bit, then maybe a third task for a little bit before we start the cycle all over again. Research even indicates that when we multitask, the efficiency and accuracy of completing several tasks simultaneously is less than if we did each task separately.
If a person has the ability to “prioritize”, this means that he or she can list or rank things in some type of order such as the order of importance. In many cases, prioritization is subjective at best. One person’s idea of what is most important is not the same as another person’s idea. When there is disparity between two ideas, whose idea is right and whose idea is wrong? When I find myself in this quandary, I often ask myself, “What would Jesus do?”
In today’s Gospel (Luke 10:38-42), Martha and Mary are trying to figure out the answer to this question. In this passage, Martha is attempting to multitask and Mary is trying to prioritize.
Martha is trying to be the ideal host for her guests which most notably includes Jesus. Both Mary and Martha know Jesus, believe in Him, and see Him as the Messiah. Martha is also trying to balance her desire to be with Jesus with her desire to be a good host to all of her guests. She understands that failing to be a good host is a sign of disrespect to her guests. So she’s trying to do everything to please everyone.
On the other hand, Mary believes that her highest priority is to focus on, learn from, and be present with Jesus. She realizes that her Lord is a much higher priority than anything else going on in the house and she should focus her attention on Jesus. She has the opportunity to learn directly from Jesus and nothing is going to stop her for doing so. Out of frustration, Martha expresses her disappointment with Mary to Jesus asking Him to tell her to get up and help host their guests. Martha is exhausted from multitasking and she wants Mary’s help. Jesus tells Martha that Mary has chosen her priorities correctly and
He’s not going to take that away from her.
In our own lives, we are often bombarded with so many things that need to get done simultaneously. The Gospel reminds us that no matter what is demanding our attention, it should never come before our relationship with God.
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC