Somewhere between dieting, budgeting, climbing the corporate ladder, dating, car pooling, cleaning, changing diapers, suppressing meltdowns, having meltdowns, doing homework, church work, volunteering, eating, grieving, half-sleeping, socializing, grocery shopping, bathing, and flat out trying to be everything for every one, we can lose sight of what really matters.
Well, ladies, we had a sister who had the same struggle.
In Luke 10:38-42 Jesus is in Bethany, about two miles from Jerusalem. He is visiting the home of Martha and Mary. Martha is said to be “distracted by all the preparations…” while Mary “sat at the Lord’s feet…”
Martha is serving the Lord and Mary is worshiping the Lord. Both are good. Both are important. Why is what Martha’s doing described as a “distraction”? How can serving the Lord be a distraction?
Anything that keeps us from worshiping the Lord is a distraction.
This story of Martha and Mary is not intended to point out a need for us to decide between serving and worshiping. The point is not to create a conflict between our physical needs and our spiritual growth.
This is about our need to serve and worship. According to Matthew 4:4, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” This shows that we are to be wise and responsible when it comes to meeting both our physical and our spiritual needs. It’s about balance. In verse 40, Martha says, “my sister has left me to do the work by myself.” So Mary was serving. Then Jesus arrived. In response to His presence, she stopped serving and began to worship. Martha, on the other hand, kept serving and so was missing out on an opportunity to worship.
How do we know when we have missed opportunities to worship? The presence of anxiety is a good sign! Martha came in and said, “Lord, don’t you care…” I can just see her, for I have been there myself: in the kitchen, livid! Mad! How dare Mary just walk out! Must be nice to just sit!
You know what, it is nice! So nice that Jesus allowed it and wants us to join in. In Matthew 6:31-33, Jesus preached the sermon on the mount. He encouraged us to “…not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’… But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Martha had gone from serving to being anxious about “What shall we eat? or What shall we drink?” Mary was “seek[ing] first His kingdom and His righteousness.” She believed that all the other stuff would “be added unto [her].”
So what does this look like for us in our 21st century post-modern society? We are really good at the serving part. It’s the sitting that gets us every time. And we have the stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, and attitudes to prove it. After all, is it just me? Or does everything seem important. How can we sit?
It all is important. So important that it must take a back seat to sitting! Sitting at the feet of Jesus, that is. Worship Him. Verse 39 says that Mary was “listening to what he said.” Notice the order of events here: she was serving, left her sister (which means she stopped serving for the moment), sat at His feet, then was listening. The implication is that with all the aforementioned “to-do’s” going on, we can’t really hear or listen to what Jesus has to say. At some point we need to stop “serving,” leave the “sisters in the kitchen,” sit, and worship. The more we sit and worship the more productively we are able to serve. He alone can give us the wisdom and discernment we need as we decide what tasks need to be done, what needs to wait, and what needs to be cancelled.
This week, let’s be intentional in saying “no, thank you” to an invite. Let’s shock even ourselves and make something like cleaning or folding laundry wait. Let’s go to bed early. Let’s actually cancel something on the calendar. Let’s spend that time, that gorgeous restful space we create, just sitting at the feet of Jesus worshiping Him. This could involve listening to worship music, reading your Bible, journaling your prayers and thoughts, and/or sitting quietly as you reflect on His presence and goodness. If you start feeling busy and anxious as you serve, perhaps it’s time to sit.
p.s. I’d love to hear how your “Sit” goes!