I frequently find myself impaled in this manner. There are just so many good and necessary things that need to be done. The checkbook must be balanced, bills paid, chores done – it’s not as if I'm wasting the time! If left undone what would happen? Martha, you understand don't you?
So why does Mary get all the praise?
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”
But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
Martha welcomes Jesus into her home and then immediately busies herself with serving. There was much to be done. Such an important guest, the house must be cleaned, meals prepared, the table set. This is Jesus after all.
But my sister is just sitting there. Doesn't she realize who he is and what is expected? This an important occasion. Well if she won't listen to me, then I'll have Jesus tell her. Then she'll listen! “Jesus!”
I think everyone can relate with poor Martha. I find I have to hold myself back from rushing to her defense. “These things needed to be done after all!”
But here is where the sword of busyness inflicts its wound. Was Martha doing wrong? Was her serving in any way sinful? Of course not! There is nothing inherently evil in making accommodations for a guest. These things are well and good.
Martha's fault lies not with her good deeds, but in her neglect of a better.
Martha's good doing was distracting her from Jesus, the very one whom she was working so hard to serve. There is a time and place for everything (Eccl. 3:1-8), and Jesus was in this place and it was his time. Mary knew what was most important. She knew what all needed to be done, but she knew what she needed most to do, and that was to sit at the Lord's feet and listen. The dishes would wait, Jesus was talking!
Oh how deceptive this busy is; distracting us with good to keep us from better.
BUSY -keeps family devotions from happening.
BUSY -leaves our bibles unread.
BUSY -brings death to our prayer lives.
BUSY -gives the appearance of holiness, while separating us from the one whom we are to be set apart for.
Now would be the perfect time to introduce my answer to this problem. The simple solution to solve this dilemma once, for all. If only I had an answer. These things will always be hard. Can we ignore the bills and the chores? No way, our lives would be a mess! Can we ignore our times of quietness and prayer? No way, our lives would be a mess! I think there will always be a struggle in balancing the two. But struggling is good. We struggle because we know what's right and long to do so. Our struggle shows our desires. That even though we often fail in this balance, we still long to be closer to our God. To sit at Jesus' feet and listen.
So if I have an advice at all, it would be to wield this sword of busyness carefully. Knowing the danger of it's distraction, let us covenant with ourselves not to simply busy ourselves to arrive at more to be busy with, but to seek to finish those tasks that keep us from God. Realizing that nothing is more important or necessary than our relationship with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. That no matter what may need to be done, nothing is ever more needful than to sit at the Saviors' feet and listen.
So, what keeps you busy?