The first time I sent my youngest off to school wasn’t to kindergarten when he was five. It was when he was 13 and headed to seventh grade. After we had homeschooled for seven years, we packed up and moved to a sunnier climate and enrolled him in a traditional school. New to the area and seeing all the extra time I would have on my hands, I packed my schedule with volunteering, babysitting, lunches, chairing organizations, and a part-time job.
Six months later I could barely get myself out of bed. Exhausted and lonely, I realized I had taken on too much—and too many of the wrong things. It was when I was sinking into the despair of circumstances and overwhelmed with busyness that I felt far from God. Where was He? Why did He seem so far away? I was going to church and attending a Bible study. What was happening?
At the end of Luke 10, we read about Mary and Martha. They were the sisters of Lazarus, a personal friend of Jesus. They lived in Bethany, a town where Jesus and His disciples visited. Martha opened her home to them. As she busied herself preparing food for the group, Martha became frustrated because her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening to what He said.
Let’s just say Martha is my kind of girl. I’ll bet she made a list of things she needed to do as soon as Jesus walked through her door. Hey, Jesus is coming to lunch. Give me a five-subject, college-ruled notebook, some sticky notes, and a box of pens. I have lists to make!
Frustration can definitely happen if 13 people walked in and needed dinner, but your sister is sitting there doing nothing. Martha told Jesus what she thought He should do. “Tell her to help me!” (v. 40).
In our busy lives, we tell Jesus the same types of things. Take this burden from me. Jesus, take care of this storm in my life. Find me a parking space close to the door because of the rain. Help me get all of my tasks done.
We tell Him to care for us because we are too busy to waste time on such things. He loves us and answers our prayers, but should we be praying for these things or focus on praying for His presence?
Jesus responded by telling Martha she was worried about many things that didn’t matter. Only one thing was needed— Him (vv. 41–42). Mary had chosen to sit at His feet and learn. It wasn’t about her position in the room but the position of her heart. She was aware of what He wanted to teach her.
Martha was distracted in her busyness. It wasn’t that Martha was working too hard or doing too much, it was that she was not focused on what was important in that moment—learning from Jesus.
Martha was a devout follower of Christ, inviting Him into her home to serve Him. She let her list of to-dos take her from His presence even though He was with her. She didn’t notice Him or what He wanted to teach her. She was not necessarily consumed by sin; she was consumed by distractions.
Don’t we find ourselves in the same position? How often do I think I need to respond to an email, take a call, read an article, or play an online game before I connect with Him?
We can sit at the feet of Jesus while praying, cooking, cleaning, checking emails, working, bartering with the kids, or talking with friends. Asking Jesus to be our teacher and companion during these activities places our hearts in a position to live in His presence and seek to learn. He is there.