Being busy isn’t unique to 21st century Americans. Just look at this example from Jesus’ ministry recorded in Luke 10:38-42:
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Martha did so much right. She welcomed Jesus into her home. She set out to serve Him, really working hard. Yet, there was a problem with her focus. She was distracted by everything she personally wanted to do… and by what Mary was not doing. (Serving the Lord loses its joy the minute we start comparing ourselves to others, whether favorably or unfavorably.)
Sometimes, it is not the blatantly sinful things that keep us from being close to God: it’s the things that keep us busy. We can be distracted by what we want to accomplish. Hard work and career progression. School assignments and youth sports. A little bit of “me time”. None of these are bad…if our focus is right.
Like Martha, Jesus gently reminds us that there is really only one thing that is necessary. Instead of being “anxious and troubled about many things”, how different might our lives look if our first priority is sitting at the Lord’s feet and listening? How might we prioritize our daily tasks differently? How much more peace might we feel, even when some of those daily tasks don’t get done?
As we realize that we are anxious and troubled, let’s accept Jesus’ invitation to take a seat and listen. We’ll be so glad we did, and what He gives us will not be taken away.