This is a story from the life of Jesus – the central characters being Jesus himself and two sisters – Mary and Martha whose family were very close to Jesus. One evening as Jesus and his disciples were going home they passed Martha and Mary’s home and were invited in for a meal. I think it was pretty brave of the ladies to issue a spur-of-the-moment invite to a group of hungry men! Having done that, Martha got herself in to a tizzy with get the meal ready, sitting the table to feed her guests. And while she running around being a busybody, her sister Mary, sat at the feet of Jesus listening to what he had to say. The busier Martha got, the more irritated she got at the lack of help from her sister. Finally, in frustration, she turns to Jesus and says, “Tell her to help me.”
Here’s what Jesus had to say: “Martha, Martha, 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 away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
Hmmm….so did Jesus not believe in hard work, being hospitable or helping others? No. If you notice he gently calms and rebukes Martha at the same time. He finds fault with Martha’s anxiety and busyness.She is so busy trying to be hospitable that she actually doesn’t spend time with Jesus and, only goes to him to complain – about how hard she’s working and how little her sister is helping. Maybe, secretly Martha wanted to show how much better she was than Mary – work is worship and all that……..
I love this story because it teaches us how often we take the presence of God for granted. We know he’s ‘there’ but don’t make the effort to spend time with him. And when we do take the time it is to register our complaints about life and ask for favors!
What we need to do is to regularly
a. Stop
b. Relax
c. Sit in the presence of God and listen silently. No need of words, complaints…favors…..
d. Just BE.
Here’s a beautiful prayer from one of my favorite spiritual writers – Eddie Askew.
Lord, when I think about it,
I reckon I sometimes come to you
to show you how much I’m doing.
To encourage you to tell me
what a hardworking, good and faithful servant
I really am.
I sometimes wonder how you’d get on without me!
 
Forgive my pride, Lord.
Forgive me for believing there are no limits
to what I can do.
Forgive me for trying to do so much for you
that I do most of it badly.
Forgive my arrogance 
that says if I don’t do it 
it’ll never get done at all.
 
Give me the humility to see 
that the more I try to do
the more I’m shutting other people out. 
Letting them think they’re not needed.
Not encouraging them, because it’s all better done my way.
 
And when my energy is draining away
like water down the whirlpool of my own frantic busyness
slow me down. 
Gently. Lovingly.
Help me to relax in you.
Help me to understand that your kingdom is on its way
even when I can’t take on any more.
Help me to realize 
that when there seems to be no one else around
do all that needs doing.
You are. 
What better day than a Sunday to spend some time relaxing and be-ing?
May you be inspired – everyday!

Pic Courtesy: http://www.messiahnewhope.com