“My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her” (NLT).
Last Saturday I got sick with a cold, sick enough that I slept through the Saturday noise of my household and still fell asleep early that night. When I got out of the bed Sunday morning, still woozy but better, I felt slowed down. Quick movements made my head feel like the tilt-a-whirl at the carnival.
I actually enjoyed it. I washed the breakfast dishes methodically, enjoying the warm water on my hands. I did only the things that absolutely needed to be done before going to church. When I began to cough during the service, I stepped out, got myself coffee, and chatted with a young mom nursing her baby daughter.
This quiet spirit flowed through the entire day, even through the meal preps and cleanup and the lesson planning for my classes.
Then came Monday.
Vroom, vroom. Let’s go. Hurry, hurry. Lots to do.
I left my lower gear behind and jumped straight to overdrive.
And I lost something really important in the process.
Then my in-laws arrived Thursday afternoon. Though it doesn’t seem so bad to multitask while interacting with my kids, husband, and colleagues, to do that with people you love but don’t live daily life with seems, well, RUDE. I slowed down.
And then, late that night, after everyone else was asleep, I read the next day’s devotional in Jesus Calling (just trying to get a jump on the day, you know). It was about time—literally, “time.” “Don’t fall into the trap of being constantly on the go. Many, many things people do in My Name have no value in My kingdom. To avoid doing meaningless works, stay in continual communication with Me.”
The next day I read the Scripture passages that were listed with the devotional. “Mary…sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said.
But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.”
I’ll be honest, though I LONG to be a Mary, I identify more with Martha. I often say, “But, Lord, ALL these things HAVE to be done. And quickly!” I can understand exactly how Martha feels.
Then I looked at the passage in a couple other translations. The “had to be made” is absent. The ESV just says “distracted with much serving,” and the Amplified says she was “overly occupied and too busy with much serving.”
What if all my rushing around, my multi-tasking fifth-gear—an attribute so highly praised by our culture—is nothing more than “over-occupation” and “busyness”?
Maybe rushing is, ouch, sin.
Maybe slowing down is “choosing the good portion,” like Mary did. The Amplified says this “good portion” is “to Mary’s advantage.”
There is still much that HAS to be done. But I don’t think my rushing accomplishes it any more quickly. And rushing keeps my focus and concentration off of Christ and on the pile of “has to be done.”
This afternoon, in a conscious effort not to rush it, I left early for an appointment. PJ, in between his morning and afternoon sessions of preschool, was with me. As we walked out the door, he said, “Look, Mommy. It’s snowing. It’s a gift from Jesus.”
We had a couple blessed minutes to stop and watch the gigantic flakes float down, a couple blessed minutes to consider the gift and the Giver.
“Only one thing is needed. … (Choose) “what is better,
And it will not be taken away…” (NIV 84).