“But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10: 41-42, NLT)
For a few days now, I have been thinking on the above words. Words spoken by Jesus Himself.
We often take these words as a harsh chastisement of Martha’s busyness, but they began to fall quite differently the last few days.
Was Jesus saying, don’t be hospitable and neglect preparing food for guests? Hardly, as hospitality was highly valued in those days, and Martha was fulfilling a role expected of women.
Was Jesus saying we are either worshipers or workers? This also is not true as we need to be workers who worship, or put another way – worshiping workers.
I think Jesus was trying to bring a warning to Martha, and to any of us who find ourselves too busy to keep up.
In our busyness, we can tend to ignore God. We push aside our devotional readings, say quick prayers on the go, or neglect both altogether.
Jesus, in addressing Martha, reminds her of the root of the problem:
It was not that she had too much work,
but that she had allowed her work to distract her from spending time with Jesus.
Her work had become the main focus which began to grow in Martha, an irritability and agitation with those around her. She complained and criticized her sister for choosing to take the time to listen to the words which Jesus was speaking to those in their home.
Busyness can often fill us with undue pressure causing us to become impatient and short with those around us. As we look at how much yet needs to be done, the remedy is not to do more but to do less. We need to step back and quiet our souls.
Both women displayed qualities needed in us all. We need to be both worshipers and workers.
Martha reminds us of the importance, and necessity, to maintain a consistent, intimate relationship with God in the midst of all our activity.
Mary reminds us of the importance, and necessity, to allow our private times of worship and devotions to fuel our activity.
In the midst of all we do,
may we remember the One for Whom we do.