There’s a real danger in getting too busy. Not only can it affect our priorities regarding our family, but it can affect the most important aspect of our lives: our relationship to God.
But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary; for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (V.41, 42) (NASB)
I am running around the house with my Bluetooth on my ear, talking to my mom on the other side of the hemisphere, while putting some clothes in the washing machine. It’s 6:00 pm and I just got home from a full day at the office. I have two demanding little children who need homework to be checked, booboos to be kissed, hugs to be received and stories to tell. I have dinner cooking and my mom really wants to see the girls on Skype. I have to sit down and pray that today the technology will be on my side and that I don’t have to dial 10 times before we connect. Finally, voila! When mom shows up on the screen, I’m really supposed to have a smile on my face while hoping that my dinner is not burning.
Does that sound familiar?
We live such fast-paced lives that we tend to have a distorted view of what our real priorities should be. The craziness of our schedules does not seem to spare any room for quality time, whether we are stay-at-home moms, working moms or even if we don’t have a husband or children yet. And this seems to take an all-new meaning at the time of the year that we just came through: Christmas.
That is exactly what Jesus was talking about when he admonished Martha regarding her busyness.
You know the story… Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet, hearing His teaching. Martha was busy with the housework and therefore she thought that Mary’s style of service was inferior to hers. She was so concentrated on her service that she did not realize that she was actually neglecting her Guest. While Martha was DOING, Mary was WORSHIPPING.
You see, Jesus was not telling Martha that she did not have to be concerned about her housework. He was urging her to set priorities. Unfortunately, even when it comes to our work for God’s kingdom, we can reach a point where our service degenerates into mere busywork that is no longer a devotion to God. We can get to a point that we are so involved serving at church that our time spent developing a relationship with the One we actually serve is not a priority anymore.
That is when Jesus looks at us and says: “Martha, Martha… you need to stop. You need to choose that which cannot be taken away from you. You need to choose knowing Me first. I will teach you where to go, what to do and when you need to say “NO”. Stop and listen. Sit at My feet.”
Now, in practical terms, how do we do that? The laundry is not going to jump in the washing machine by itself and you can’t feed your children MacDonald’s every day. I wish I could spend my day taking care of my children and writing things about God, but that is not possible right now. I have to work. So, I have to make time. And only I can make time.
Here are some things that have helped me:
1) Wake up really early. For some of us who are not morning people this is a hard thing to do. But I have found that if I wait to read my Bible and pray later in the day, I just don’t. The biggest bonus, though, it that by putting God first in your day, you set the tone for a successful one. He energizes you when you are tired and promises to guide you through your day. Psalms 119:105 says “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”
2) Find an accountability partner. In my case, it’s my husband. He is an early bird and wakes me up every morning. When I get downstairs, my Bibles are already on the table, waiting for me. He’s there studying his Bible too. When I was single, I had a girl friend who would call me at a certain time and we would pray together. We would then hang up and read our Bibles.
3) Pray without ceasing. Although I love to be in a silent place to pray, I have decided that God hears me and talks to me on the freeway as well. People probably think I’m crazy some days, but I really don’t care. We have a good time. I talk to Him in traffic, when I’m cooking or putting that load of laundry in the washing machine.
4) Pray before committing to service. Don’t just get busy. Pray before saying yes. God does not expect you to do everything people ask you to. You need to know when GOD is calling you to serve Him.
5) Use small breaks in your schedule to learn about God. Take some days of the week and use your lunch hour to read your Bible and pray. While your children are at piano lessons or taking a nap, grab a good Christian book to read.
6) Turn off the TV. There is nothing wrong with watching TV, although I have to say, there is very little out there that is worth any of your time. However, if you say you don’t have time to spend with God but you don’t miss one episode of Grey’s Anatomy, we have a problem. Grey’s Anatomy should be, like, 20th in your priority list.
If we make it a priority to seat at Jesus’ feet and listen, He will guide us in what to do. Our service will never be meaningless and empty and we should have real joy in whatever we are doing for Him. He will energize us and will be the wind beneath our wings when we are too tired to go on. And best of all, by prioritizing our relationship with the Lord, we will be exactly where He wants us to be: right in the center of His will.
Dear Father, I’m choosing to sit at your feet before I start serving. I’m choosing to listen to your voice before I take another commitment in Your name. Show me when I need to say “no” and when to say “yes”. Help me prioritize my life, putting You first, then my family, then my service to You. I thank you because I know You will show me the way. In Jesus’ name, Amen