The Good Part
So much of our national interest in productivity is actually about setting priorities. We all have the same amount of time each day, but some people are perpetually accomplishing more than others. Poor prioritization makes us seem very busy, without accomplishing the things that truly matter. By spending our time on less-important tasks, we never accomplish those things that make the biggest difference.
This same problem is partially to blame on the lack of biblical literacy in the world today, and even in the church. All people have the same amount of time, but only some people use that time to familiarize themselves with God's word. Many people allow the distractions of the world to dominate their focus and devour their time. This is certainly not a new problem, and is even addressed straightforwardly in the New Testament.
When the young Jesus and His family visited Jerusalem, the family lost track of the Savior because He was spending His time discussing scripture in the temple. (Luke 2:41-52) It might be easy for us today to react as Jesus' parents did, with rebukes and questions, but how many of us hear Jesus declaration of proper priorities? “Why is it that you were looking for me? Did you not know that I had to be in my Father's [house]?” (Luke 2:49) Jesus understood the importance of spending time with God's word, and that even over preparing for a journey and spending time with relatives and friends. The importance of that activity dictated His priorities and was, thus, demonstrated in His actions.
When Jesus visited Mary and Martha, there was a terse discussion of priorities between the sisters who were hosting the Savior in their home. (Luke 10:38-42) Surely we can sympathize with Martha who was doing all of the work, making preparations and feeding the guests who were enjoying her hospitality. However, do we hear Jesus' reminder about what should come first in our lives? “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things, but [only] one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42) Mary understood the importance of listening to the words of the Savior, even over helping her sister engage in serving the guests and preparing the home for visitors. The importance of hearing Jesus dictated her priorities and was demonstrated in her choices.
When Jesus' own physical family came to see Him while He was teaching the disciples, He did not immediately change His priorities. (Matthew 12:46-50) “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:50) Jesus was not despising His mother or His brothers, but He understood and respected that encouraging the disciples to follow the will of the father was far more important than addressing the physical needs of family. His priorities were toward the spiritual family of those who respected and sought to accomplish the will of God. The importance of doing the will of the Father dictated His priorities, and thus He chose to remain with the disciples.
How do we order our priorities? Do we have to be in our Father’s house? Are we choosing the good part? Are we valuing our spiritual family? Is it reflected in our actions?