The clause, “I’ve been very busy”, is a familiar one, isn’t it? We’ve probably said it to someone and have also heard someone say it to us on a number of occasions. However, the question remains: are we truly busy?
I recently came across a quote attributed to John Piper, and it says: “One of the greatest uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove on the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time”.
One fact we have to face is that there’s a great difference between busyness and making progress, hence we must never confuse movement with progress.
The quest for more time and balancing life priorities isn’t only a 21st century challenge, as followers of Jesus in the first century had to contend with this issue as well. The home of one of Jesus’ friends named Lazarus was the centre stage, and the characters were Martha, Mary and Jesus. The main theme of the “drama” was the need to put first things first as taught by Jesus (Luke 10:38-42).
The question thus remains: how do we navigate through life without being caught in the ‘busy but guilty syndrome’ amidst the endless activities calling for our attention?
Martha’s problem was one of balance, of not holding life in the proper tension. God is not honored by shoddy work or the neglect of our necessary duties in life, thus we must be sure the necessary doesn’t get out of proportion and distort our lives. We can easily confuse means and ends. We must not take something that is not too important and make it primary in our lives. Otherwise, what is seemingly harmless becomes a stumbling block for us.
Is Martha totally wrong? Of course not! Martha’s work is necessary- in the church and in the home. But Mary gets the nimbus. All that Martha needs is a change of perspective. So as followers of Christ, we need to cultivate both the Martha and Mary in each of us.
Jesus did not only want Martha’s food; He wanted Martha herself. The food that would nurture her soul is the food she can never prepare in her kitchen. Our relationship with God does not develop in the midst of fretting busyness. The one thing needful is to hear God speak to us.
How can balance be struck? To achieve balance, Martha must be a Mary and a true Mary must be a Martha. Both are sisters. Therefore, to get our service and devotion right, we have to get our priorities right. We must let Jesus minister to us first before we go out to minister for Him, update our social media handles or get busy with our daily lives. That is God’s order. Many times, we equate our devotion to God in terms of what God wants us to do for Him. However, our devotion is shown as we become who God wants us to be.
When we keep our priorities in line with God’s priorities, we will find out that God enables us to do what needs to be done with joy and satisfaction.
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