How easy it is to be distracted by the business of life! We go to work, take the kids to practice, clean the house, mow the lawn, and a dozen other items on our to-do list, almost daily. Our schedules are filled from top to bottom with so many tasks and chores it often becomes overwhelming. In truth, these things are not wrong in and of themselves. God expects us to work hard to provide a living; proper home maintenance is a part of good stewardship; and it is important to spend quality time with friends and family. The trouble is that we can allow ourselves to become so monopolized by these good things that we leave no time or energy for the best things.
This struggle is not unique to our generation. Luke tells us of two sisters, Mary and Martha, who dealt with the same dilemma (Luke 11:38-42). Martha “welcomed Jesus into her home” and as any good host, she busied herself with serving and seeing to matters of hospitality. Mary, however, placed herself before the feet of the Lord and fixed her attention on Him. Her willingness to ignore the conventional responsibilities of hospitality bothered Martha and prompted her to ask, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me” (Luke 10:40). Jesus’ reply corrected her perspective. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).
At some point we all walk in Martha’s shoes. Her desire to be the best host she could be was not sinful, but neither was it the best course of action. If the Savior is teaching in your home, forget the fine China, paper plates will do! Like Martha, we tend to become so focused with the “good” things that we fail to see the best. Because of work and family obligations, we slight ourselves of personal Bible study time, our prayer life suffers, and our service to the Lord consists of what little time and energy we have leftover. But, this is a bad substitute and will ultimately leave us spiritually empty. So, as we look to the future, and how we can better ourselves in His services, let us remember the lesson of Martha and not choose what is good over what is best.