As I’ve shared before, I’m a list kind of girl. Right now sits a post-it note on my kitchen counter of things that need to be done. At school, a mini-clip board holds my list. I also keep reminders on my phone. Why all the lists? Three reasons-
- I’m very busy with many things to get done
- I’m very forgetful and need the reminders
- I love checking off the items for it makes me feel accomplished (personality quirk I guess)
All these lists though remind me of a lesson the Holy Spirit has taught and retaught many times through the years. Yes, at times I can be a very slow learner! The lesson is about where I keep my focus. For you see, I too often try on Martha’s shoes.
On his journey, Jesus had stopped in a village and was welcomed into the home of Lazarus (yes, THE Lazarus) and his sisters Martha and Mary. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus taking in his words and soaking in his presence.
“But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.” Luke 10:40
Martha was focused on being the hostess with the mostess! Make Jesus and his disciples comfortable, prepare the meal, and cover all the small details. She was frustrated by her sitting sister. Boy, can I understand that feeling… all of us list makers can. Thinking herself in the right, she went to Jesus and asked him to get her sister focused on the work. Jesus’ response surprised her-
“Martha, Martha … 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.” Luke 10:41-42
I’ve read this passage many times and I’ve written of it before but each time I come back I find value in repeating the lesson. Making lists and accomplishing tasks is not wrong. Even in ministry, there are jobs to be completed. The mistake though is setting the to-do list higher on the priority list than spending time with Jesus.
Let’s take time to sit today. After we get back up, our lists will still be there waiting to be checked off. First, though, let’s sit. Soak in his Presence. Take in his Words through the Bible. Converse with the Father through prayer. If our focus doesn’t begin with Jesus, even our Christian list items are just going through the motions! As an added bonus, time spent with Jesus reduces our worry and stress over the smaller items we will deal with… remember, Jesus told Martha not to worry so much about the small stuff.
Lord, thank you for this important reminder today! Keep the lesson fresh on my heart for the days ahead! As I sit and take a deep breath of you right now, I know my day already looks better! Thank you, Jesus! Amen!