Tag Archives: martha and mary

More Important Things

Sometimes we will host a large group of people in our home for a birthday party or some other event. My personality style wants to make sure everyone is taken care of. I go around making sure people have what they need, empty the trash, put out more food, etc. at the end of the night, after we’ve cleaned everything and head to bed, my wife will sometimes ask, “Who all did you get to talk to? Did you visit with your aunt? Or did you get to visit with this person?” More often than not, my answer is, “No one. I was too busy.”

In my business, I forget to slow down and engage with people. My mind says that for people to have a good time, there needs to be food out, plates cleaned up, and the trash has to be taken out. Most of that can be done after the party, but it’s hard for me to let go. I get distracted by all there is to do, and then end up not interacting with my guests the way I should. I find that I have a lot in common with Lazarus’ sister Martha.

She hosted a party for Jesus and His disciples in Luke 10. While she was cooking food, taking out the trash, picking up plates, and such, her sister Mary was just sitting there interacting with Jesus. I’m sure she asked her for a help a few times before she complained to Jesus. She said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work?” (NLT) She was socked by Jesus’ answer I’m sure because it goes against her personality.

In verse 41-42, Jesus said, “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.’” God is less concerned with our busyness in making sure things get done than with our interaction with Him. Yes, things need to get done, but there are more important things out there. Sitting at Jesus’ feet is one of them.

You and I can get so caught up in the work of ministry and the life of a Christian that we forget to spend time with Jesus. When we fail to interact with Jesus, it’s easy to begin to think our work is what impresses God and others. It’s time each of us stopped the things that keep us busy and spend time interacting with Jesus. I think we’ll find direction and become more productive when we do. Doing Kingdom work is good, but it needs to come after we’ve spent time in His presence. 

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Take A Break (Video)

40 But Martha, overly occupied and too busy, was distracted with much serving; and she came up to Him and said, Lord, is it nothing to You that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me to lend a hand and do her part along with me!
41 But the Lord replied to her by saying, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things;
42 There is need of only one or but a few things. Mary has chosen the good portion, that which is to her advantage, which shall not be taken away from her.

Luke 10:40-42

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Tired Of Being Busy

Time. It’s the one thing everyone has the same amount of each day. It’s also the thing most of us wish we had more of. There’s always someone or something that is after our time. Since we can’t make more of it, we have to choose daily what to sacrifice because we can’t do everything we want. Usually we cut out time with meaningful relationships including God. “I’ll pray extra tomorrow, God,” we promise. “I’ll take off work early tomorrow so we can go do that thing,” we tell our significant other. Yet, we have no idea what tomorrow will bring.

I know what it’s like to be pulled in every direction, to have my inbox full, to have reports that need to be run, to own a phone that won’t stop buzzing, from people who need answers, to have a child who needs attention, friends who want to hang out and a spouse who just wants some quiet time with me. It gets overwhelming at times. It’s hard to know how and what to prioritize. There’s so much that has to be done, so little time to do it in and not enough of me to go around. Sound familiar?

Lazarus’ sister Martha felt that way too. In Luke 10:40, the Bible says, “Martha, overly occupied and too busy, was distracted with much serving; and she came up to Him (Jesus, who was in her house) and said, ‘Lord, is it nothing to you that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me, to lend a hand and do her part along with me. (AMP)'” She was wore out doing all the things that were required of her and wanted some help from her sister who was just sitting there listening to Jesus. She was tired and crying for help.

Jesus’ response was strange. He didn’t tell Mary to help her out. He didn’t chastise her either for not serving The Lord. In fact, He got onto Martha who was the one being busy for Him. He 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 it won’t be taken from her. (MSG)” He told her that her busyness was “nothing”. He told her that being busy was not what He was looking for. He wanted someone who would use their time getting to know Him. He wanted someone who would stop what they were doing and listen. The one essential thing He said was to sit at His feet.

I get caught up in the lies that Martha believed. In my mind, I think that busyness for God equals greatness with God. I think serving Him through works equals righteousness. Those things are great, but what He really wants is that thing that everything else wants. Time. He wants you to spend time with Him more than He wants you to be busy about His work. He wants you to sit and listen instead of being so distracted by everything you’re doing. He’s not interested in us getting stressed by doing Kingdom work nearly as much as He is at having us relax at His feet. He understands that time is our most valuable asset and He wants us to use it to draw close to Him.

What will you do with your time today?

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Quit Helping God

My son gets frustrated some times while playing his learning apps on the iPad. He will carry it over to me and say, “Help me, DaDa.” I’ll look at what the app wants him to do end start to show him. He will then start trying to help by doing something else on the screen while I try to show him the right way. I ask him to stop and watch, but he gets frustrated with me. He eventually takes it back and keeps on trying until he comes back and asks for help again. We go in circles until he just gives up trying to do it.

It reminds me a lot of how I try to do things. When I can’t get past something or really need God’s help to accomplish something, I run to Him and cry out, “Help me, Father!” He looks down and tries to show me what He wants and how I should do it. Instead of watching and learning, I bat His hand away and say, “Ok, I got it.” He knows I don’t. He knows there’s more to it than I see. He’s trying to help me connect the dots, but I’m not patient enough to watch and learn. I take it back out of frustration and keep trying.

I’m glad that God is more patient than I am. I know He gets frustrated with us trying to always do things instead of learning from Him. It reminds me of two sisters in the Bible found in Luke 10:30-42. There is one sister, Martha, who is busy trying to do everything for The Lord. She is working hard so that everything is right and there are no problems. She wanted to serve Jesus we’ll, but got frustrated in the process. Her sister wasn’t helping, so she asked Jesus to help. “Tell her to lend me a hand,” she said. The Lord tried to help her, but not in the way she was expecting.

Her sister Mary was sitting at His feet listening to Him. She was patient and wanted to learn how to better serve. Instead of continuously trying to work to get it right, she stopped, handed her time over to Jesus and watched. She didn’t try to bat His hand away while He spoke. She didn’t interrupt in order to show she got it. She just waited. The Lord rewarded her in His response to her sister. He said, “There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

If you’re looking to God for help today, take time to sit at His feet and listen. Quit trying to do it all, stop completely and learn. He would rather us take the time to listen and learn than to keep working in our trial and error ways. He wants to take it out of our hands, show us what He wants and then to give it back. Don’t keep batting His hand away when He’s trying to show you. It’s ok to stop working when you’re sitting at His feet. It’s ok to leave the complicated things behind to do something as simple as listening. Taking time to listen to His voice will not be taken from you. It’s just up to you to position yourself where you can hear.

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