“She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations.” Luke 10:39-40 (NASB)
I glanced at the clock on the wall. How was it 11:45 already? Where had the time gone? It was nearly noon and I wasn’t even halfway through my to-do list for the morning.
My day had started hours earlier when I had bounded out of bed with a goal of knocking off a bevy of tasks around the house, on the computer and in my little hometown. Scrawled out on a baby-blue legal pad, my plan included things to cook, calls to make and errands to run.
I’d started whittling down my list as soon as my family left for school and work. Now at mid-day, I still had four or five items left undone and no way to accomplish them before my 1 p.m. dentist appointment to get a crown on my tooth.
My spirit sank. What’s my problem? I wondered. Did I underestimate how long each task would take? Or did I overestimate my ability to execute them quickly? Or, perhaps, it was a little bit of both.
I also hadn’t factored in the interruptions. A text from my daughter needing help on a tax form. An email from a friend wanting a recipe for company coming over later that day. A neighbor whose computer was on the blink and needed to borrow ours to make an order online. More distractions and delays.
A little nervous about my dentist appointment, I called my friend Mary to ask for prayer. As we visited, I shared the details of my frustrating morning, and asked how her day was going. She replied that she hadn’t completed what she’d hoped to either, concluding, “But I had a good long time alone with God this morning praying and reading my Bible which is what I needed most, so it’s okay.”
My heart sank as I realized my problem: I hadn’t taken time for the most important detail of the day. Spending time with God wasn’t even on my radar. Maybe if I had spent time with the Lord I wouldn’t have felt so much frustration at my lack of productivity.
Our key verse today tells of another woman who put chores ahead of spending time with Jesus. The story in Luke 10 tells of two sisters and how they spent their time when Jesus came to visit. Martha was busy scurrying to get to the end of her “to-do list,” but Mary chose a different path. She settled herself at Jesus’ feet, soaking in His words and His presence.
Later on we read that when Martha complained to the Lord that Mary wasn’t helping her, He replied, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42, NASB).
There’s no doubt Martha’s sister Mary also had things to do. So did my friend Mary. But in the case of each Mary, they chose to do the best thing first: position themselves where they could clearly hear from the Lord.
Perhaps today we can set aside our to-do lists until we’ve mimicked the Marys. Let’s vow to meet with God before we attempt to meet the challenges of the day. Yes, maybe that’s the key. Let’s stop scurrying and be seated instead.
There is always plenty of room at His feet.
Dear Lord, help me to take time today to meet with You before I try to tackle the tasks of the day. Give me the perspective that You are more important than my never-ending list of tasks. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Visit Karen Ehman’s blog today for 5 Ways to Sit at His Feet and a quiet-time giveaway.
Want a go-to guide for slowing down and savoring the moments with God? Check out Encouragement for Today, a devotional book for women from the team at Proverbs 31 Ministries.
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Reflect and Respond:
Can you remember a time when you didn’t get to the end of your to-do list? Now, think back. Did you have a time alone with God that day? How, if so, how did it make a difference?
Psalm 27:8, “You have said, ‘Seek my face.’ My heart says to you, ‘Your face, LORD, do I seek.'” (ESV)
© 2014 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.