Now as they went on their
way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into
her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet
and listened to what he was saying.
But Martha was distracted by
her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, "Lord, do you not care that my
sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help
me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried
and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:38-42
Busy. Busy. Busy.
We’re all so busy… being busy: planning and doing, getting and keeping, fussing
and fixing. Our inflated egos tell us that if God really wanted us to have some
time for him, he should have made 48-hour days and 14-day weeks. But chances are
we’d still fill up the extra time with lots more busy work. And that doesn’t
mean we are all over-worked Martha’s: single-handedly struggling to serve a
house full of family and friends. In fact, many of the busiest people we know
are busy plugging away at their TV remotes and IPods; only stirring from the
couch to go to bed.
What would you do
if Jesus crossed your busy threshold today? Like Martha would you stay in the
kitchen baking a tuna casserole or fussing over the vegetable lasagna? Or like
Mary would you fall at the feet of Jesus and soak up every word of the Savior?
These questions are not hypothetical. Jesus stands at our door every moment,
waiting to be invited in. And he’s not here for the cuisine or the hospitality.
He’s come for your life… not to take it, but to give
There is no
subtlety in this gospel. Jesus tells us directly to get our priorities straight.
It is not a case of choosing between good and evil. It is a matter of choosing
Christ above all else. Jesus tells Martha: Only one thing is important. Mary
has chosen the better thing, and it will never be taken from her. Seen in
the context of scripture, the choice is obvious. Life in and for Christ trumps
all. But fast-forward to 21st Century reality and the picture can
become very blurry. The physical Jesus has returned to the Father. The physical
realities of paying the mortgage, keeping your job, feeding the kids, finishing
the project, getting ahead, having some fun… they are all in your face 24/7.
They can fill-up and consume our lives, crowding out Christ. But only if we let
In composing the
perfect prayer, Jesus instructs us to ask for “our daily bread,” but only after
we have established that God’s priorities are our priorities: “Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done.” By God’s command we are here to build the kingdom. We are
instruments of his will. That is our purpose. By consequence of our human
condition we must also toil for our sustenance and all its adjunct amenities.
But that is not our purpose. We do not: live by bread alone, but by every
word from the mouth of the God. Humble, attentive, loving Mary knows this
instinctively. Busy Martha must be reminded: Feed the soul
definition of prayer is lifting our hearts and minds to God. If we undertake
every task of the day in this spirit, there is no busy work … only prayer.
Living and working in Christ there is no tedium. There is only Te