True Value

What is it that we truly value?

Sometimes, when I sit down and try to pray with the Gospels, I find it helpful to focus my attention on reading it and praying about it by posing questions to myself. In light of those questions, what is the message with which God is answering me? This Sunday’s Gospel inevitably calls me to ponder, “What is it that I truly value? What is it that God wants me to find valuable? What action might I take in my thoughts, works, pleasurable pursuits, in which God will see value?”

This week, as I sat with this passage again, I began to wonder if those in my life, whether they are close to me or strangers I encounter just briefly, can see what is important to me. We all, whether consciously or unconsciously, demonstrate, in a variety of ways, what we care about and believe in.

I would venture to guess that if you like sports, there is little doubt as to who you root for. Our clothing, ball caps, coffee mugs, posters, and likely Facebook profile pictures proclaim clearly our preferred team. With certainty, there are very few people in my social circle, and even my professional one, who aren’t fully aware that I am a proud New England Patriots fan.

Likely, if you’re a marathon runner, you have proclaimed it on your bumper with the easily identified oval sticker with a bold 26.2. Love your gym? There may be an orange splat logo or the logo of your favorite CrossFit gym. A favorite bakery, political slogan, tattoo shop name (guilty), child’s college, military service branch, or radio station may be prominently displayed for all to see.

None of these pursuits are wrong. Jesus is not necessarily saying that working hard to provide for yourself is wrong; there is, however, a message there that can cause some discomfort for us, especially for those of us who have so much. I believe that the more we accumulate, the more uncomfortable Christ’s teaching on wealth might make us feel. There are a number of lessons for us here, but this week I felt called upon to bear in mind what Jesus says just a few verses later, “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”

We can discover what is valuable to us by taking a look at where we spend our treasure—our literal treasure—and where we invest our time and our energy. We can all do better. Just this weekend, I began to lament that I didn’t have enough time to get all my housekeeping done, and then I remembered that I spent, literally, hours on my needlepoint while watching “Star Trek: The Next Generation” on Netflix. Often, people will tell me that they want to commit to adoration, but they just can’t find a spare hour each week to do so. I would hazard a guess that if they looked honestly at the moments devoted to scrolling through Facebook posts, Instagram photos, Stranger Things episodes, and preseason football coverage (or the Tour de France), they’d “discover” more than an hour of free time available to them. None of these things is a “waste” of time. Unintentionally neglecting time spent for prayer or time for answering Christ’s call to work for justice and peace doesn’t mean that you don’t love Jesus deeply. But let’s be honest with ourselves. We need to open our eyes to the fact that it does undeniably highlight for us what we have allowed to become our priorities.

In respnse to God’s voice in my reflections on this reading , I’ve begun keeping a log of how I’m spending my time this week. I am writing down exactly how I’m spending my time, and at the end of the week, I plan to read through it and hopefully get an accurate picture of just where my time is being invested. If you ever feel like you just don’t have time for the things you are passionate about, the things that have real value to you, I invite you to join me in journaling your time spent.

Once you see where you are spending your time, where you’re investing your money, what passions are displayed prominently on your clothing, your car, or in your décor, you will then have a clearer picture of where your heart is.  Where do you want it to be? What is it that you truly value?

Praying, as always, for each and every one of you.

Lisa Amos
Director of Mission and Ministry

 

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