What are we busy about?
“But Martha was distracted with much serving.” Lk.10:40a
Sweet Martha. I identify with this chick, as I know many of you do too. She’s getting things ready, preparing food, picking up the house, trying to get it just right FOR JESUS. To me this makes total sense. I mean it’s Jesus for crying out loud. Wouldn’t we put our very best foot forward if we knew Jesus himself was coming over? It would be with the very best of intentions to get the house prepared for Jesus. Much of getting a house “ready” for a guest is to let them know you’re honored they came. You want to show them “I value you so much I picked up my kids shoes that have been strewn about the house for a week! I cleaned the downstairs toilet! I sprayed Febreze on the smelly couch and lit a candle! That’s how much I love you. I did hard things for you!”
We do this for guests and I do think there is some value to be had in it. But what does the Bible say about Martha?
She was “distracted with much serving.”
Rather than preparing her heart to be with Jesus, she distracted herself with all the other things she thought needed to be done.
The devil has woven distraction so seamlessly into our days we barely even notice it. When did sitting with Jesus become so hard? When did sitting in silence become so deafening we would do anything to escape it?
As I’m learning more about myself and who God created me to be, I’m learning “doing” is much easier than “being.” We can turn on autopilot and “do and serve.” We might be doing great work. We could be helping sick kids, meeting the needs of the hungry, taking care of the orphans and widows, taking care of our families, working hard at our jobs, providing shelter for those who have none…all really good, noble tasks. These are all worthy and holy things when they come from the right place. See, doing things to stay busy won’t fill our souls. And if we’re really deep in it, we won’t even notice because we haven’t taken a hard look at our souls in a while.
Our souls cannot be tricked.
Our souls are filled when we meet with the One who created them. We must take the time to sit and be with the Creator. Mary knew this. She sat at His feet the minute He walked into her house. Martha was mad she wasn’t helping while Jesus just wished she would follow Mary’s lead.
It’s hard to sit and be quiet. It’s really hard to sit, be quiet, and not let your mind wander to other things you “should” be doing.
God’s economy is not like ours. He values stillness. Our world values constant movement: if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward. This isn’t how God works. Our world puts a lot of value on shouting your opinions from the rooftops. God places value on listening to His voice. The world values production while God values “wasting” time with Him.
Let’s not forget that doing great things for the Lord isn’t the same as being with the Lord.
Doing and being are different.
As backward as it may seem, God values being with us more than He values what we DO for Him. He said of Mary:
“Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken from her.” (Lk. 10:42)
Certainly God has things He wants us to do while we’re here. Good, holy things. But He doesn’t want us to do these things at the expense of a relationship with him. Jesus came to restore our relationship with the Father. If we miss that, we’ve missed everything.
What’s your “busy” about? Are the things you do an overflow out of time spent with God? Or are you just trying to stay busy? It’s good to check our motives every once in a while.
Sidenote:: If any of my neighbors are reading this, you are excluded from my “home preparations”. You’ve crossed over from the guest zone and are in the “I love you dearly but you know too much about me for me to fake clean for you.”