It was 11pm after our Friday night family movie and I couldn't wait to tuck the kids into bed so I could could slip in after a long day. Then 8 showed up with a Bible, saying teacher said he should not sleep without reading the Bible. Like so many days before when it was late and he wanted to read a book or Bible story, I wanted to tell him that we would do it next time, or next morning. I confess that there have been far too many nights when I have chosen social media, the couch or chores over an unrushed devotion with the kids.
But this night I thought about his desire to do what the teacher instructed. And his desire to read the word of God, even if it was at the wrong time for me. I decided to honour his request. Because God has been teaching me about priorities, and focusing on what is important. A desire to read God's word triumphs a bedtime curfew. A desire to obey the teacher's instructions calls for me to put aside my lazy sleepy eyes. It's about the heart of the matter. His right was on what matters.
Long after the kids went to bed, God reminded me about my own busyness and spiritual laziness, "Brenda, Brenda, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41–42).
Martha had guests to attend to and was doing what people with guests do. They scrub, they clean, they chop up and boil and fry and wash and mop up and serve. It is hectic. One could do with help. Mary, Martha's sister, meanwhile was sitted at Jesus feet cherishing every word that fell from his lips. She was in the moment. Unfried meat could wait. Dishes could wait. Someone else could serve the food. But sitting at the Lord's feet; that was essential, though it came at a cost. The kingdom of God comes at a great cost to oneself. But it is in losing that we gain. In death there is life.
If you have waited on man guests without help, you can feel Martha's frustration, "Surely Lord don't you care that I have all this work to do?"
But Jesus validated Mary's choice and it is a reminder for us when we want to get bogged up in programmes and protocols and regulations and daily routines and dirty dishes, and work and shop runs, "There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it—and I won’t take it away from her!”
For me this a call to set my priorities right, to set apart time with God and with his Word as top priority. More important than my sleepy eyes, more important that the overflowing laundry that needs to be folded, more important than that evening run I have been postponing for weeks, is nourishing my spirit. Because many are the days that work will pile up on work, then chores stare back, kids want mummy, there are classes to be done, I am feeling lazy and unmotivated or I have no energy left to open my Bible or pray, or read the Bible with the kids. Like Martha, I am encumbered by many details yet one thing is needful.
This is my season to do the one thing that is needful. What's keeping you from spending regular uninterrupted time with God? Laziness? Inadequacy (you know that feeling of what could I possibly have to offer or tell God?) Work? Fatigue? Sleep? Netflix? Chores? Workouts? Friends? One thing is needful. Jesus wants you seated at his feet more than he wants you busy busy. One moment of favour with the King is worth a lifetime of effort, to paraphrase Tommy Tenney.