25th Sunday of ordinary time year C 2019:
There are people out there who swear they can be more efficient by multi-tasking. Some people think that they can get a lot of stuff done all at the same time. But, I don’t think this is true. I find that if I try to do multiple things at once, I end up doing all of them badly. Have you ever been talking to someone and they keep saying “uh, huh”, then you look over and they are messing with their phone? That person is trying to multitask. But, I’m betting he or she didn’t hear a single word you said. I’ve read studies that show that humans really can’t put their attention on more than one thing. So, it’s much better to keep our focus on one task at a time.
In the gospel, Jesus tells us that we can’t try to be spiritual multi-taskers either. You cannot serve both God and mammon. You will end up loving one and hating the other. Mammon is a Hebrew word that means money or profit. I like to think of it as the business or practical side of our lives. And there’s no getting out of it. We all have to take care of our finances. Even as a priest, I have my personal finances to manage and I have the parish’s finances to manage. All of you have many practical things you have to do in your lives. We all have work to do. Appointments to keep. Etc. All of that fits into mammon. But, are we trying to multitask? Or is God number 1 in our lives?
It can be easy to think about our relationship with God as just one of the things in our lives. We have our jobs, our families, our relationship with God. But, Jesus is always clear on teaching that God has to be number one. What’s the great commandment? Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul, then love your neighbor as yourself. God has to be number one. Why? Because we are not good at multitasking. If we try to keep God on the same level as everything else in our lives, then we end up not doing any of it very well.
But, the nice thing about putting God number one in our lives, is that he actually helps us to do everything else better. Having a great relationship with God will make us better mothers, fathers, doctors, lawyers, whatever… Putting God number one makes us more honest, dependable, trustworthy. All of these qualities help us in all aspects of our lives.
So, how can you tell if God is number one? Just do some tracking. Do we spend time in prayer? Do we spend time serving others? Do we think about God in our daily lives? I read a book on productivity that had an exercise where I had to track every minute of the day for a week to see where I was spending my time. It was sort of shocking just how much time I wasted. Or how much time I was spending on things that weren’t that important. Track your time. How much of it does God get, how much do we spend in serving others? Also, look at your finances. We think we spend money on only the important things. But, I know that I don’t always spend it on the right things. One thing that really helped me with that was putting my tithe as the first withdrawal every month. My paycheck is deposited on the 15th. My online giving comes out on the 17th. This helps me to try to put God first in my finances as well.
Jesus is absolutely correct. We cannot serve both God and mammon. We cannot multitask when it comes to the spiritual life. We have to put God above all things. And yet, when we do, it’s so rewarding. Never be afraid to put God first in your life.