"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken from her."
- Luke 10: 41-42
Don't you love when a familiar passage of Scripture suddenly has new life breathed into it?
I am thoroughly enjoying my new Bible study book that I got at the Goodwill bookstore: A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George. This is an older book, published in 1997, but, oh, I was meant to read it right now. I confess, though, that when I got into the first chapter and saw that the featured piece of Scripture was the story of Mary and Martha, I thought to myself, "Oh, that story... again." I really wondered what new could come of it?
Most of the time I have read the story and have had discussions with others about the busyness of Martha. Certainly, that idea is applicable to this season and is one to which I am paying attention. I know that Martha was concerned about the hospitality she was providing and, believe me, I completely understand her frazzled nature! But Jesus' compassionate answer to her, speaks to so much more than that present, momentary setting.
I have been out of a regular practice of quiet time alone with God for a number of months now. It's not that I wasn't reading my Bible, but it was sporadic throughout a week - or completely missing a week. Of course, the girls and I have Bible time first thing every school day and so often I would "count" that. But "count"? Really, now, is that the stuff of relationship? And while I was studying with the girls and discussing with them, I was not having one-on-one time with God, save for chatting with Him throughout the day; sending up little, "popcorn" prayers, as one author I remember put it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, and, indeed, I continue to do all these things. But it puts me a bit more in mind of Facebook or even blogging. I get on and read what God's doing at the moment, but then go on with my day-to-day tasks. Sometimes I take a little more time and check out His profile page and I'll send him a comment. Sometimes I'll even have time for a chat. But for as much as we love what this technology provides us, I think we all agree that we appreciate the one-on-one, real-life, conversational time spent with those we love.
All this to say, I was quickly convicted and then re-energized and motivated and hungry to have more - the more that I remember having when I do take time with God. And, of course, it does take time. In fact, right now, it's taking the time I was using to work out and I'm going to need to have to do some rearranging here if I'm going to fit it all in. But I'm happy to say that I've got my priorities back in line now. Because here's the thing: Elizabeth George put it so beautifully - and in light of our current economic crises, I think it is particularly pointed - "... as her Master noted, time spent hearing and worshiping God can never be taken away, for it is time spent in eternal pursuits, time that earns permanent and everlasting dividends."
Are you worried and upset about something today? Are you concerned about the future of your own or your husband's or other loved ones' employment right now? Have you saved and invested for your future, only to have so much of it, yes indeed, taken away? God understands your concern and your fears. I was just marveling today at the number of verses that talk about a person becoming weary. He knows how things are. He understands what it is like to be human. And He says, "only one thing is needed." Take time now to make a real investment in your future and your relationship with God.
You will be so blessed by it and it will not be taken away from you.