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As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her”
There are some so-so seasons in my spiritual life, as I’m
sure there are in many of our lives. In these seasons, I still read my Bible, I
still pray at meals and when a specific need or request comes up, but it’s just
not great. There are days when I will realize that I haven’t thought about God most
of the day.
Recently, I have been in this so-so season. But here’s what
God is teaching me. I was just reading in Luke and came to story of Mary and
Martha. Now it’s interesting that Martha was actually the one who opened her
home to Jesus, it says, but then she was the one so distracted by everything
that she had to get done that she couldn’t enjoy his presence. The irony.
Though the story is very familiar to me, this time it struck a new chord and
has been calling me out of the so-so. I know I want Jesus in my life. I confess
that I want him to by my Lord and Savior. I invite him, and yet, in seasons
like this I don’t actually get to enjoy his presence because my mind is elsewhere,
and I’m distracted by the things that need to be done.
I don’t think the main point here is that we need to stop
everything we’re doing and just sit with Jesus all day (although there is a
time for that). Jesus doesn’t tell Martha off for preparing food and getting
things ready for the guests. He points out that she is worried and upset about
many things. So, while there may be Mary/Martha contrasts in what actions they
took, there seems to also be a bigger contrast in mindset and in the enjoyment
of Jesus’ presence.
In life, there are things that still need to be done to
survive and thrive. We still need to work. We still need to care for our homes
and families. In this story, Martha may have had to try catching bits and
pieces of Jesus’s conversations in the other room. However, we have the unique
experience of being able to bring the God of the universe with us wherever we
go. I have the complete freedom to invite him into the ‘house’ of my heart and
mind – consciously including him in thoughts, emotions, and desires. Speaking
to him, listening, and doing life together. When I am working, he is there.
When I am resting, he is there. When I am running through a busy day, he is
there. The thing that stops me from enjoying his presence with me is often the
same thing as Martha – I’m distracted. I imagine Jesus sitting on the ‘living
room’ of my life, perusing the coffee table books, looking around patiently,
whistling to himself, while I am working in the ‘kitchen’ saying “I’ll be with
you in a minute” for the entire day.
The Lord used this passage in Luke as invitation for me to
enjoy his presence no matter what I am doing. So I now extend that to you.
There are different things that I have done in the past to help me remember and
snap out of distraction. Sometimes it’s something around my wrist. Other times
it’s a different background image on my phone or computer. For me this week
it’s a small stone in my pocket. It doesn’t really matter what it is – it is
simply something different that stops me just long enough to remember I don’t
have to be doing this alone.
Lord, thank you that you love us dearly. Thank you that we are not alone. You did not leave us as orphans. Thank you that we can be in community with you no matter how full our lives may be. We are sorry for the times when we are so preoccupied that we no longer enjoy your presence, even though we have invited you. Please help us remember. Help us enjoy your presence even as we go about the work and life you have called us to. Amen
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