38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
I wonder if Martha’s agenda got bruised when Christ called her out in Luke 10. Mine would have, especially if I was “doing” something I thought useful and important while Mary sat star-struck at the Messiah’s feet (I can see Martha’s eyes rolling at Mary). Martha was making things comfortable for her guest. She was doing a good and customary requirement in preparing her home for him. I would guess that her right to exercise the word “but” to the Messiah was invoked:
“But, Lord, I’ve worked so hard.” (translation: Lord, my work is just as important as Mary’s attitude)
“But, look at me!” (translation: Notice me!)
“But, how can what she’s doing be better?” (translation: Lord, I’m jealous that you are interested in her more than me)
“But, Lord, I did this so you would notice!” (translation: I need you)
There there, Martha. What if deep down you have a need— a need to be noticed in a place where emptiness grows? What if you desire to validate a version of you, without addressing your connectivity issue with a Savior? Mary recognizes her inadequacy because of her awareness that she is incomplete, and because of it she realizes that nothing she could do or prepare would fill that empty space. Only One person can fill that empty space.
I have agendas swirling around my head every morning around 6:05am, right after my caffeinated impulses start to life. And agendas are good as a pliable mold for the day. But often my agendas get parasitic, linking themselves tightly to worry, anxiety, self-assessment and comparison with others. And that’s when the bruising occurs. Because my agendas loop back as a personal assessment on how I think I’m faring: if X, Y, and Z are done well, then I must be doing well.
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Preparing for a guest
Making others feel welcome
Cleaning the house
Making the beds, sweeping the floors, dusting the furniture…
Christ called these ALL distractions. But aren’t these good things? In using the word distraction, I believe Christ meant all these outward manifestations of making things look good are merely distractions from the truth of recognizing our deepest need— the one basic necessity hiding in the shadow of our hearts. For when this need— the need of a Savior— is exposed as most important, all things around it grow dim.
Funny thing is God did not love me any less while I was an infant, unable to physically “do” anything for myself. He certainly doesn’t move me up on the hot shot scale when I “do” every task set before me. In fact, I believe when my focus remains steadfastly on those busying things, I lose connectivity with the larger picture. When my eyes are uber-focused on the small picture details, and if those details start to unravel so I become agitated, annoyed or even angry, then I understand my agenda is linked to something distressingly deeper. It could be that, during those little explosions in the day where our agendas morph out of control, God is actually trying to help redirect my attention back to Him. He may be trying to help me notice what is most important: the chance to stop, ask, listen and talk to the One who is enough for my every need.
S = stop
A = ask
L = listen
T = talk
Lord, I pray today’s bruised agenda becomes a birthplace of knowledge for my need of a Savior. When the events of today start to spiral downward, help me remember there is someone who knows me and who is waving to catch my eye. You fill my every need and You are enough for me.