A Shift in Priorities
Luke 10: 42 “Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.”
Hearing a strange noise in my house required an investigation. After searching, I stumbled upon the source: A bird was repeatedly bashing against our closed window determined to fly into our house.
For the next three days, (Yes, I said THREE DAYS!) my family did everything to dissuade the persistent bird, because bottom line was we were absolutely not letting her in! We waved her off, closed the curtains, turned off the light, turned on the light, and attempted to scare her. Nothing worked.
I took momma-pity on her knowing it was spring and this bird was desperate to build a nest for her future family. I admit I finally tried talking some sense into her. I went to the window and lovingly explained to her how she was expending all her energy beating against my window when she needed it for building a nest and feeding her young. I encouraged her to look elsewhere for a more promising location.
And, it worked! Seriously, almost immediately after my heart-to-heart talk with this mother bird, she discovered the fern on my back porch and in no time at all, constructed a cozy little nest and laid five tiny eggs - much to the detriment of my beautiful fern, I might add. (Definitely adding Bird-Whisperer to my resume!)
How much effort was expended that could have been used for a better purpose!
Martha was frazzled. A divine guest had graced her home, but she could not stop to relish it, because, like that exhausted momma-bird, Martha was quickly depleting her energy being the “Hostess with the Mostess.” It was a monumental honor hosting Jesus and the disciples so she scurried from kitchen, to guest, to check on Jesus, back to kitchen, and back to hostessing. Exhausted, she scanned the room for her sister, Mary.
She calculated how many mouths there were to feed. How many would stay the night? Would there be room enough to bed them down? Her Martha Stewart-mind raced in a thousand different directions, but mostly around WHERE WAS MARY?
Searching, Martha finally spotted Mary, totally carefree and sitting at the feet of Jesus. Yes, SITTING! With that one scene, Martha’s frustration peaked and she lashed out at Jesus. His loving response,
“Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed-or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Jesus, obviously aware of Martha’s agitation, graciously called her name twice, offering Martha the chance to calm.
But, wasn’t Martha expending her energy on the necessary preparations like any hostess might? And, didn’t Jesus teach a life of service? In fact, wasn’t the story preceding this one the parable of the Good Samaritan, a tremendous lesson on serving others? “Yes, yes, and yes. But, Jesus did not condemn Martha’s servant attitude. Instead, Jesus taught Martha a lesson about priorities. Her hostess preparations should have ceased and her priorities should have shifted, because Jesus had arrived. And, sitting at the feet of Jesus immediately became the BEST thing Martha could have done.
Many days, I see myself in Martha and the momma-bird. I spin my wheels, expend my energy, run myself ragged, and at bedtime realize it took me all day to accomplish absolutely nothing on my list of priorities, especially the priority of “sitting at the feet of Jesus.”
Father God, help us to see the priorities of our day. Help us to know that you, Lord, are the top priority of them all.