Scurrying or Seated?

Scurrying or Seated?

February 28, 2014

“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.

Related Resources
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.

Need a guest speaker for your women’s event? Invite Karen to be your presenter. Click here for a list of her topics.

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?

Power Verse:
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.

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Comments

  1. It’s so hard for me and my husband, Ron Smith do accomplish everything that we want to do. Unfortunately, doing special things together is difficult because we have to save mon…ey for the leopard gecko’s food, as well as stuff we may also need. Nonetheless, my birthday is coming up this Sunday (and I’m turning 30), and I wonder what my crazy husband’s going to be up to. My husband’s so special. I’m glad God placed him in my life. Having time alone usually involves listening to WCIC. I ♥ deoing this every day, no matter how I may be feeling. Volunteering in any way possible is how my husband and I can make a difference in the life of someone else, even if they’ve had a rough day. This weekend’s my birthday weekend, and I’m going to spend it with my husband and God in whatever way I possibly can. The Pentecostals of Springfield, Illinois is going to probably shower me with birthday cards throughout the day on Sunday. “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 don’t allow anything to distract me frm being in the presence of God. I know that He has so much He wants to tell me. Being in God’s presence when I’m at church is like an endless celebration. Worshiping never seems to stop throughout the entire service.
    When I’m always on the go, it seems like time never stands still. Time just seems to speed by like a time machine that’s travelling forwards through time. I feel that same way when I’m alone with God while listening to WCIC; however, he opposite happens. Duringy time in God’s presence, time seems to slow down, stand still, and stop completely because I’m in the presence of the Lord. “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).
    In this verse, we see that Mary was doing the right thing. She dropped what she had to do to take time t be in Jesus’ presence. Unfortunately, the only thing Martha was concerned with was getting everythig done that she’d been doing. Undoubtedly, I’m like Mary because I am always willing tobe in God’s presence. “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”~Karen Ehman Unfortunately, it seems like we tend to have more time to do what we want instead of showing God ♥ by praising and worshipping Him at all times. Proverbs 31 Ministries has the right idea about taking time out of our busy lives for God. Doing this would make us feel so much better, and we’d be more than ready to tackle the rest of the day. Psalm 27:8, “You have said, ‘Seek my face.’ My heart says to you, ‘Your face, LORD, do I seek.’” (ESV)
    I ♥ this scriptur. When God wants me to seek Him, I obey. I don’t allow anything else to stand in the way o being i the presence of the Almighty God. I know I nee tospend time in His presence always, as long as nothing stands in the way of my relatinship with God.See More

    • You are such a very precious person Nico and your perspective on everything is absolutely amazing!!!!!!! Please keep this up, it’s a total blessingto us all. I hope you have a wonderful Birthday on Sunday and that God would amaze you with His goodness this weekend and always. Happy 30th Birthday and thank God for giving you to this world. Many many blessings always!! :-) :-)

      • Our weather’s going to be messy this weekend; however, my husband and I are going to try and make the best of bad weather. We’re going to listen to inspirational music on WCIC, and just enjoy one another’s company.

  2. Very eye opening

  3. This speaks directly to me. I work part-time and today is my day off with my children, so I have quite the to-do-list lined up for today. It is important to prioritize your day and start with God!

  4. You would think Karen that as you get older, it would get easier to make that time with the Lord first thing a priority. I wish! I think it’s harder now than it ever was. Wonder what that’s all about?????? Anyway, I will try to remain seated for a time today and keep the scurrying to a minimum. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. What a great reminder how we all need a little more of “Mary” in are lives. I start my day each morning with my coffee, my favorite chair, my Bible, my prayer time and Proverbs 31. I don’t think I could tackle my day without this time, I know I can’t those days when I get distracted and only have a minute for a prayer before I get out the door my day is not the same. Oh how I need Jesus to jump start my day! Live for what really matters time with God.
    Thank you Karen for the reminder to stay seated first scurry later.

  6. This is one of my favorite passages – Luke 10:42 “Mary had chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Thank you for the reminder, that before I tackle the mess of boxes that need to be put away (I just moved), I need to sit at His feet and find that which can not be taken away. The boxes, to-do list, to-go list, will be there when I rise. And thank you for the reminder that there is always room for more at the feet of The King.

  7. My husband and I are up at 6 every morning. Between 6 and 7:30 we have a quiet time, write in our journals, pray and then spend 15 minutes with our headphones on listening to waves on a beach. While we listen we are not thinking of anything and it allows our minds to settle. We then have breakfast and either excersise or sit in the sauna depending on the day of the week.
    This morning routine allows us to nurture our minds, spirits and bodies …. And we’re ready to start the day.

    Have a great day everyone!

  8. Barbara Cummings says:

    Thank you for reminding me that more important than getting things done, is spending time with the Lord first. All that matters is God being at the forefront of our day, the things will still be there to get done in due time. Having time alone with God at the beginning of our day, will help us to focus on the tasks at hand, doing these things is a way that is going to glorify the Lord. We all need to have more of the Mary mentality in our daily lives. We sometimes can make an idol out of our to do lists, and they become our priority instead of setting our priorities on the one who saved us and gave us a new life, free of sin and hope, love and peace in our lives. Let us remember that each morning we need to pick up our cross daily and submit our lives to doing God’s work for his kingdom. All other things will fall aside and we will get done what is most important, living a life of submitting to the Lord fist.

  9. Good focus for LENT!!! I think I will work to give up my Martha habits and start practicing my Mary ones! ;-)

  10. Best use of the Mary/Martha story I’ve ever seen. Really fit the passage. Thank you!

  11. Thank you so much for the timely devotion. We are planning to go to India to visit our families, and there are a lot of “things” to do. Pray for me so that I can focus on sitting at Jesus’s feet before doing anything else. It’s so easy to get carried away, we are visiting after 6 yrs.

  12. Tammy Harrington says:

    What’s an amazing devotional. I tried to place the same twist Martha stated due to Mary’s lack of willingness to help prepare. At first, I felt, they could have both prepared and both sit at Jesus’ feet but in all actuality, we must be STILL and sit before God to prepare for our day. So it just helps me to see that I must organize and prepare early so that I can be a ‘Mary’, and not a ‘Martha’! Thanks so much for the reminder and setting my day up to win with God first!

  13. When I read that piece of Scripture i always feel like it was not so much the service that Jesus is speaking to because I believe that is a gift and in that day and in many places in Scripture you find people preparing food to bless the visitors. I think He is speaking more to her heart than anything else.. She was double-minded, not focusing solely on her task for The Lord but at what someone else was doing as well. Comparison.

  14. Karen,
    What keeps me the most from sitting quietly at Jesus’ feet is business, not putting Him at the top of my to do list each day. Often I rebuke myself as I reflect upon the fact that so often I choose to not go to Him FIRST when I remember WHO He is! He is the creator of the universe, all knowing, all powerful God and I am His daughter. I know that He wants the best for me and I have the privilege of looking to Him for the solutions to my problems and answers to my questions. I am losing out when I don’t go to Him FIRST.
    Thanks for your encouragement today.
    Rachel

  15. This so fits me today! Thank you for writing this. I am greatly appreciative of it in ways I cannot explain. Thank you! Blessings.

  16. I read some in my Bible every night. Maybe I should try to find time to read it in the mornings to start my day off right :)

  17. I so needed this and the 5 ways link today. I cld not find where to add my comment there. I knew the principal and did it again 2day and it changed my day

  18. Marcia Davis says:

    Thank you so much for these words. I am so guilty of getting to the office and using that quiet time….which is okay but not enough. I pray that as I begin a new week that spending quality time with God will be my priority. God bless you!

  19. Lindsey Feldpausch says:

    Thank you Karen, for putting into words and illustration the principle of “seeking Him first.” So thankful for your writing and for your example!

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