What Does Jesus Think About Being Busy?

We live in the culture of the busy. Do more, work more, be more productive. Go to the bookstore and buy a book that tells you how to be 100% more productive in 50% less time. Set goals, meet goals, destroy goals. Wake up early, guzzle coffee, and get stuff done.

Our culture makes heroes out of highly effective people, and we find a lot of our identity in our productivity. The more we produce, the better we feel about ourselves. At least that’s how I feel.

Unfortunately, I often carry this “be productive” attitude into my relationship with Jesus. I feel like I’m more pleasing to Jesus when I doing more for Jesus. But I don’t think Jesus sees it that way.

In Luke 10, Jesus is spending time with Martha and Mary. Luke 10:40 describes Martha in the following way:

But Martha was distracted with much serving.

Martha was doing a wonderful thing by serving Jesus. Servants are great in the kingdom of God, and Jesus regularly emphasized the call to servanthood. But Martha was distracted by serving. Who was she distracted from? Jesus.

What was Mary doing while Martha was being productive and efficient? Sitting at Jesus feet, listening to his teaching and delighting in his presence. She wasn’t getting anything done for Jesus, she just delighted in being with Jesus.

When Martha commands Jesus to command Mary to get up and serve, Jesus gently corrects her by saying:

Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:41-42)

Martha had gotten so caught up in doing that she forgot about delighting. Serving Jesus became more important than delighting in Jesus. Her priorities were backwards.

I’ve got a lot of Martha in me, and if I was there I would have probably received the same correction. I often find myself more concerned about accomplishing and achieving than simply being with Jesus and delighting in his presence. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be zealous for good works, but I want my time in the presence of Jesus to take precedence over my performance for Jesus.

What about you? Any other Marthas out there?


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+photo by Irish Typepad

Comments

  1. Petra Hefner says

    Great point! There is such a difference, a real disquieting difference, between serving Jesus because we delight in Him and serving Jesus because we think we have to.

  2. Elaine says

    When I was a new believer, I was encouraged to serve, serve, and serve. I was told, "Burn yourself out for Jesus!" Coupled with my own prideful tendencies, I quickly became a Martha and a very grumpy woman. So exhausting trying to meet every need. What looked like service was not at all – just me working myself to death because I thought I had to be the one to take care of everything. Simply pride, pride, pride.

    How different things are now! Recently one of my pastors encouraged me to redirect my efforts towards an opportunity he believed was a better fit (I completely agreed and had hoped this would be an option) inside of doing something else. How freeing! I walked away thanking the Lord for the opportunity and for my pastor's care for me. What a blessing!

    I do love and appreciate how kind the Lord is to all of us Marthas. He knows our frailities and gently directs us back to Himself.

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