Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
There is a daily battle being fought between work and God for our choice time.
It's upon this very decision every one of us has made that fundamental mistake of mis-choosing. We get it wrong so many times. We can even get angry that there are so many things to do in a day, yet the Lord still expects us to sit down and have a 'quiet time' amongst all the rush and panic.
Mary and Martha were two sisters of Lazarus. The three were all friends of Jesus who visited their home often. On this day, He was giving some instructions. You know, just having a chat with listeners. Martha assumed she was the Godly one, getting all the tasks done and busying herself. She even tried to draw Mary away from the Lord.
What was Jesus' response? He more or less said, "Martha, you can do that work anytime after I leave. It won't go away. Come, sit down and learn while I'm here."
Every morning, our daily chores are already swimming in our heads competing for first place. A day's work is ahead of us, so the earlier we start, the better grasp we have on the day. I think it's the same for all of us. Work does not disappear, although we sometimes wish it would for a while. Do we tackle the simple stuff first or the more challenging jobs? Do we rush around finishing those quick, short tasks before we sit down and try for some quiet time? Or is it best to tackle a couple of big ones and get them out of the way? And while God is calling us to come to the quiet and rest with Him, we are thinking, "I'll just fill the dishwasher and get that going, and then I'll put the washing machine on. At least I'll know things are happening while I'm sitting with Jesus doing nothing."
How much value do you place on your quiet time?
The work part of our mind is our Martha. She is our industrious side, always trying to convince us to get tasks done first. Always finding just one more thing to do before we sit down with the Lord. When Martha is in charge of the wrong time, we always get our system back to front. Our day never goes according to God's plan, although we think it goes well according to our own.
Mary is our spiritual side that chooses to sit at the Lord's feet. She loves it so much she doesn't want to rise. Mary could read, study and pray all day. Her quiet time would increase to hours if she let it. But we'd never get anything else done.
Our job is to ensure Mary and Martha work at their proper times. Each is as important as the other, but they must control their own time.
One of our misconceptions is understanding the value of each role. We can easily see what gets achieved when Martha is in control. The house gets cleaned, things get cooked, tidying up happens, clothes get washed, etc., because she is busy, busy, busy.
But how do we adjudge what happens in Mary's time? We can't see the results. The outcomes of Mary's work happen by faith. Within us, small changes occur to our understanding, our spirit, and our day. We are blessed because we took time out for God. We are committed to that space — the reading, prayer and meditating on God's Word. We learn and grow as if we were at the feet of Jesus Himself.
Sometimes it is difficult to tell Martha, "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
What we fail to see is that Jesus will not remove Mary's investment. The learning and growth remain. In contrast, Martha's investment in the day will disappear as soon as someone uses some dishes or clothes. We must do both works, but the first works — our time with the Lord — must come first.
We must rise early enough to put God first in our day. And we must be at peace when we do it, not have a mind full of Martha work in our heads while we are pretending to be at peace with the Lord. After all, we are His people. The flock that He shepherds. Let's spend our time with Him properly.
Today's prayer: Dear Lord, I put these two managers in reverse order too many times. I have undervalued my Mary time. Please help me get Mary and Martha in their proper place to get both types of works done each day. Thanks.
Photo by Sixteen Miles Out