Martha Vs. Mary
How have you been lately?
If one the first word that comes to your mind is “busy”, congratulations, you fit in to the same category as about 99% of all American’s. (I would say 100%, but let’s be honest- the 5 yr. old and under crowd are doing just fine juggling their napping and play-date schedules.)
The point I’m trying to get across is, practically everyone admits to being busy or leading a very over-booked lifestyle. Meaning it must just be the way it goes, right? We all have so many important appointments to go to, deadlines to make, relationships to maintain, church functions to attend, sporting events to see, Dunkin’ Donut’s coffee runs you HAVE to make(can i get an Amen?!)- so how could we not be busy??
That rationalization has always subconsciously seemed completely justified to me, because it’s just how the average human has come to function. It’s normal.
That is, until I consider quotes such as this one from Bruce Hindmarsh:
“Busyness is moral laziness. Because it is often a statement of our self-importance and our excuse to be inattentive to people…. But God has given us just enough time to do what we need to do, moment by moment, to respond to Him…Every moment is a sacrament where time touches eternity and there is exactly enough time to do what God has called us to do.” - Bruce Hindmarsh
Busyness is moral laziness??
My human defensive nature started to quickly try and come to reasons why that was a completely insane notion…. But the more I pondered his words over and over, the more convicted I became.
Would it be so off to say that we clutter our lives in order to distract ourselves from the possibly difficult tasks the Lord has called us to obey? That we cram our schedules to a point that, even if God was calling upon us to do His work, we couldn’t hear or feel it because we are so numb to the Spirit by our overwhelming “to-do” lists?
I use phrases all the time like, “I just don’t have enough time” or “There’s just no extra space in my schedule for that” and I may really not have any extra time. BUY then I have to ask myself- Are the things that are taking time up my schedule, things that are in response to God’s calling on my life or the things I find important to my life?
We shift around and make room in our schedules everyday for deadlines and meniscal errands we have for that day, yet find it impossible to make room to fellowship, build relationships, or disciple.
As I wrestle with this epidemic-sized problem we face as a culture, and my own shortcomings in this area, I am immediately reminded of a particular story in the Bible. In Luke 10, Jesus’ visit to the home of Martha and Mary that reads,
“Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”
The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it- and won’t be taken from her.” - Luke 10:38-42 The Message (MSG)
How many of us are the Martha instead of the Mary in this story?
I’ll say it- I’m Martha. With no hesitation. Not that I’m happy about it, but it’s the hard truth. And I’d venture to say I’m not alone here.
Dear friends, put yourself in the story- Even if Jesus IN THE FLESH was in your own home, would you sit and listen to Him or would you still find something “important” to do like Martha?? She thought she was pleasing the Lord with her exasperating efforts, but all He wanted was her to be still and listen to Him.
It is important to realize that we are just stewards of the time we are given. We have been given this life, as a gift. A gift with an individual central, divine goal- fulfill the will of God.
That’s it. Really.
As Christians, most of us have heard that before, but how many of us actually live that way? We fill our brains and our schedules with so many temporary stresses and obligations that we become numb to the moments He’s divinely placed before us.
Time is a gift, each moment is a gift, and we will one day be held accountable for how we used it.
With saying all of this, It’s important to know that there is grace in all things, friends. We aren’t always going to handle our days in a way that glorifies and honers God, because this is a messy world with a lot of messy people… But we can try.
God is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”(Psalm 86:15). When we come to Him humbly and confess our sinful stewardship of the time He’s given us, He is there to first, forgive and secondly, to “guide and direct us”(Psalms 32:8) So rejoice in knowing you are already forgiven, but in return, it only makes sense to give back to God some of the time He has so graciously given to us.
So if I may, I challenge anyone reading this, that in the next battle between your inner “Martha vs. Mary”, realize the eternal value of choosing Mary’s way. To “be still & know that He is God”.