This year, I woke up on New Year’s Day ready to clean, organize, and plan. I immediately began rattling off plans for the day, scheduling activities on the calendar for the month, and looking ahead to plans for later in the year. My family, still sleepy-eyed and satiated from holiday activities, looked at me as if I’d completely lost my mind.
I hadn’t, but I was about to come close.
You see, as I looked ahead, I quickly became overwhelmed. I took note of the work needed on the house and wondered how we would get it done. I thought about getting my youngest ready for college and worried about how she would adjust. I considered my parents’ health issues and worried about how best to prepare for the unknown. I reexamined my personal goals for writing and exercise and family time and wondered how I’d ever find the time for it all.
I got so caught up in trying to manage every little detail, that I lost sight of the day’s joy. In Luke 10, we see a picture of a lady named Martha who experienced much the same thing. She was preparing dinner for several guests, including Jesus himself. She, too, was good at planning and organizing, but, like me, she lost sight of the joy of the moment.
When she voiced her complaint to Jesus, he offered this response: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing” (Luke 10:41-42).
The “one thing” Jesus spoke about is being in relationship with him. This same passage reveals that Mary, Martha’s sister, was sitting with Jesus and listening to him talk. Mary wasn’t frustrated or stressed. She was simply enjoying her time with Jesus, and he affirms that this would “not be taken from her” (vs. 42).
It’s not that Jesus fails to appreciate Martha’s effort or that he encourages laziness. His point is that true peace and rest are found only in him. Later on, Jesus instructs his disciples: “Do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well” (Luke 12:29 & 31).
Do you find yourself worried and distracted over many things? Take the time this week to lay it down and spend time with the One who can calm all your fears and direct all your paths. Only there will you find peace for today and hope for tomorrow.
*You can read this part of Martha’s story in Luke 10:38-42.