38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 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.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
Being still is one of more difficult things for many in our day and age. Yet it is one of the most rewarding things anyone can do who truly want want to hear from God. Psalm 46:10 clearly states: “Be still and know that I am God.” Martha was distracted with much serving, rushing about with lots of activity. What frustration could have been prevented if she could have stilled herself before the Lord? May I offer a couple of reasons we find it difficult to be still.
Activity makes us feel important.
It’s true isn’t it? The more busy we are, the more important we feel. I believe Martha could have struggled with this. She was going great lengths to prepare a dazzling meal for Jesus. How often have we busied ourselves even in the name of the Lord carrying about with a certain “air” of importance?
Activity makes us feel like we are getting something done.
Howard Hendricks once said: “My greatest fear for you is not that you will fail but that you will succeed at the wrong things.” Martha was about to succeed at the wrong thing. She was working hard for this meal and presentation and on her way to missing the truly important part of it all: the guest of honor. How am I focused on the wrong thing? Don’t just do something…be still and do the right thing.
Activity itself will never satisfy.
At the end of the day, we can accomplish all of our activities and yet feel empty. So we fill our lives with more activity or stimulus or whatever to escape the emptiness within. Jesus gently chided Martha for her complaints. He told her that Mary had chosen the good portion…the thing that was right and it would not be taken away. It would have residual affect. It would remain. What part of all of my activities have eternal value?
I have found that in stillness and quietude, I find peace, comfort, and direction for my activities of the day. Taking regular time each day to be silent and listen to the Lord has been an invaluable practice throughout my entire Christian walk. That’s something that I can’t say about all my activity, Christian or not. How about you?
George Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and serves as the Creative/Mission Pastor at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA