On Sunday night a few weeks ago, I missed my quiet time. Again. (Yes I know I wrote a blog post on quiet times a few weeks ago. The lesson is still sinking in for me.) I heard the quiet whisper of God’s voice telling me to spend time with Him all afternoon. I was ready to go, and then my boyfriend wanted to spend time with me.
So I spent quality time with him, which is not a bad thing, and figured I would spend time with God later.
But, I kept thinking that I would get to my quiet time all afternoon- when my family needed help getting ready for part of the youth group to come over, when I was working on this blog- until I was so sleepy I fell into bed.
And this is definitely not the first time that this has happened. Have you been there? Are you there today? Is your emotional or spiritual life suffering because you just keep putting the important things off out of busyness?
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the story of Mary and Martha, grab a coffee and go read Luke 10:38-42. I’ll wait. Go read that before you keep reading this post. Maybe underline a few things.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
If you’ve read the story before, you may find it super easy to judge Martha as being a nagging, crazy woman. I mean really! She went and interrupted Jesus while Jesus was teaching! Who does that?
I would dare say that you and I do more often than we would like to admit.
LET’S GET NERDY
To get a better grasp on this story, I went over to Blue Letter Bible, which is a really convenient website that translates English to Greek and then tells you what the Greek means. Let’s look at what was going on with Martha when she went to complain to Jesus.
In the NIV version of the Bible, the story says that “Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.” Even in English, do you see what it says? These preparations had to be made. Dinner needed to be cooked for the disciples, maybe even beds made up for them. She wasn’t working on a side project that could have been done another day. She was doing her job as hostess.
In the Greek, the word for distracted is perispaō, which means “to be over-occupied… about a thing” or “to distract with care” according to the Blue Letter Bible website. Martha was stressing out about getting everything done! There were a lot of people over, and she needed to take care of them!! Is anyone starting to feel for poor Martha?
Then, I looked up the word preparation. Here it gets really interesting. I looked up what preparation is in Greek, which is “diakonia.” Diakonia basically means ministry or serving (typically in a Christian role). The King James Version of the Bible translates this word into English as ministry sixteen times, ministration six times, and ministering three times.
This means that Martha was distracted with doing good work, what many would call the Lord’s work. She was doing the right things and for the right reasons. Now who really relates with Martha?
SO WHY WAS MARTHA COMPLAINING?
Even though Martha was doing good things for all the right reasons, she was clearly upset. That is because service is not the same as a relationship. In the process of trying to work to make everyone comfortable and playing the hostess, Martha lost sight of the reason Jesus was there- to teach. So Martha lost sight of her purpose- to sit at his feet and learn from Him. Ultimately, that is for more important than what meal Martha served that day.
Busyness can never replace a relationship.
But how much are we just like Martha in this way? Complaining to God that we just don’t have time for him, but somehow we have time for everything else. If this is resonating with you, but you aren’t quite sure if this applies to you, here are some ways you can tell if you are being a Martha.
YOU FORGET YOUR QUIET TIME
If you are consistently forgetting your quiet time, then you might have lost your focus. We all forget every now and then- I definitely do! – , but it shouldn’t be all the time.
YOU ARE TOO BUSY ALL THE TIME
If you never have time to just stop and breathe, you are too busy. Period. End of statement. Moving on.
YOU FEEL ALONE IN YOUR WORK
If you feel like you are the only one who ever does anything, you might have Martha’s attitude. Rarely is a person truly doing all the work (whatever that work may be) all by themselves. Odds are you have placed expectations upon everyone that they cannot live up to and aren’t godly. You aren’t alone; other people just have different priorities.
YOU’VE LOST YOUR JOY
If you hate the ministry that God has called you too or are just constantly frustrated with you, like Martha you have lost your focus and joy.
YOU’RE IMPATIENT AND SHORT TEMPERED
If you are constantly upsetting people with your criticism or snappy attitude, it’s time to check your heart. This is probably caused by a combination of all of the “symptoms” I listed above.
You may have just read this list and thought, Yikes! I have most or all of these problems! Not to worry, we have all been there myself included. The most important thing is that you recognized it, so you are well on your way out of the dreaded Martha attitude.
While each person’s journey of repentance and getting back on track with Christ looks different, here are a couple of things that may help you out:
- Check out my post on what to do when you struggle with your quiet time
- Find verses on rest, peace, and what a Christian’s true responsibilities.
- Write out a prayer of repentance to the Lord.
- Take a day of rest.
Thank you so much for sticking with me to the end of this post!! I am so glad you allowed me to spend some time with you today. I’d love to hear from you about what you are struggling with these days or if you’ve ever been a Martha. Please leave a comment below or shoot me an email over at firstname.lastname@example.org!