A few weeks ago, at a church function, a young mom I know came up to me and said something I have been pondering ever since. “I just want to tell you, I’ve noticed something about you from afar. I appreciate that you are really good at saying ‘no’ and guarding your time. And I respect that.” I was surprised to say the least. You see, I feel like I am actually really bad at saying no. When I’m asked to serve in the church, attend an extra meeting, or volunteer for a position that needs to be filled, I feel compelled to help. But what choice do I have? The demands of being a wife, mom, and homeschooling my four kids just come with the territory, right? My days are packed with sports, laundry, teaching lessons, cooking, 4-H meetings, piano lessons, working out, my cleaning job, singing with the worship group, teaching one of the kids’ classes on Sunday mornings, writing, and the list goes on and on.
If only that young mom could see how often my priorities don’t always fall into order with the reality of life’s demands. If only she saw how easily I become bogged-down in the “work” of this life. If there are dishes to be washed, I can’t bear the thought of prying myself away to read the Bible. If a job needs to be done, I forsake time with my children.
In fact, I have always thought of myself as a “Martha”. In the book of Luke, chapter 10 verses 38-42, the story of two women is told. Mary and Martha are sisters from the same family, with very different priorities.
Please take the time to read the verses below:
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!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Can’t you just hear Jesus?
“Hosanna, Hosanna!” He urges me.
Yet my mind drifts back to verse 40: “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.”
Girls, this is me.
This is the very thing that gets me every single day. Is it you as well?
Jesus tells us to stop worrying. He longs for us to stop getting upset about the things that don’t matter. He goes on to say there are very few, yes in fact, there’s only one thing to be concerned about.
How is that possible?
In her book, Willing to Walk on Water, Caroline Barnett says,
“I was particularly moved by Matthew 6:32, which says that unbelievers tend to worry about day-to-day things.”
Unbelievers? Well, I’m a believer and I worried about day-to-day things all the time! This verse is screaming at me. The worrying, the busy life, the thousand things that I have to do every day, aren’t supposed to be worried about at all.
Not worry about my to-do list? This is crazy talk.
31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
I don’t know about you, but when I read that one I hear, “Don’t worry about what you are going to cook, how it’s going to get paid for, and how much laundry is piling up.”
And verse 32 goes on to say:
“For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”
And I hear, “Don’t you trust me? Don’t you think I can take care of all the little things? Put me first, and I promise the rest will fall into place. If you chase after the things of this world, you will miss the best part of life.”
As women, we do a lot of work. Sometimes we get so caught up in the things we are responsible to do, we forget about the one thing we are commanded to do.
Verse 33 says, “Seek first his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
O.K. I’m starting to see. Are you? Can you picture a simpler life? Can you strive to start changing the way you look at the things that MUST be done? In all actuality, there is only one thing that needs to be done. And many times, in my life, it’s the one thing that never gets done. Here’s my new “To Do” list.
Isn’t it beautiful?
It’s hanging in my bathroom as a reminder. Here’s the fun part, I made a few extra! Would you like one to hang up as well? If you e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and send me your mailing address, I’ll mail you one just like this to put up for yourself. Looking forward to hearing from you!
Writing in answer to His call,