Today we reference the account of Mary and Martha found in Luke 10: 38-42.
Esp. vs. 41, 42: “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.””
In this passage we are confronted with our tendencies to be performance based “doers.” In fact, if we are honest we would have to admit that we can’t stand it when others are don’t do what we are doing. And we are quick to point that out to others: “Look what I’m doing, and look what she’s not doing.”
The issue here is that Martha was “distracted” (vs. 40) by all the activity. She was so caught up in serving that she missed something—something important. Mary on the other hand, “sat at the Lords feet listening to what he said.” (vs. 39). This Jesus said is the one thing that is really needed. We need to sit at his feet and listen. This leads us to some questions:
- What distracts us from hearing what God is saying?
- Busyness. We need to find the time to slow down and sit at Jesus feet.
- Activity doesn’t always turn into spiritual health and wholeness.
- Have you ever had your mind go elsewhere during a sermon or even when you’re having your quiet time, or praying? We get easily distracted just like Martha.
- Do we compare? And do we announce that comparison?
- Do we look at all our activity and feel maybe a little superior to others because we’re so busy or involved in so many spiritual things?
- Do we evaluate our spiritual status by how involved we are or the things we do?
The Pharisees had this problem of comparing:
Mark 2:18: Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?” At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.” Matt. 12:1-2
It seems like we get so stuck in our activities and think that defines our spirituality that we miss the very thing that God wants us to have—a real relationship with Him.
What brings us in closer—close enough that we hear what Jesus wants to teach us?
The Spiritual Disciplines without too much discipline. It sounds like a contradiction in terms, but it is possible. For example:
- Have a regular Quiet Time, but with breaks to keep it fresh
- The process of journaling may help you keep focused on what God is saying
- Worship, not just corporately but privately
- Prayer, with pauses to hear and sense what God is telling you.