“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.” Luke 10:41-42
There are days when I feel overwhelmed my by to-do list. A lot needs to be done in a little amount of time and regardless of how much I accomplish, it never seems to include everything. Can you relate?
I bet Martha can. In Luke 10, we find her scurrying around the house, meal prepping while scooping the countertops clear of miscellaneous items and fluffing pillows. Jesus has been welcomed into her home and it’s a big deal. While wanting to make a good impression, she is clearly overwhelmed by her to-do list.
What do you do when you’re overwhelmed? I begin to talk faster than normal and at a higher pitch than normal. My furrowed brow communicates stress to all who glance in my direction. And when the task is an urgent one, it’s best if you get out of my way.
Needless to say, feeling overwhelmed is not a pretty experience. And it wasn’t for Martha when she asked for help:
But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” (Luke 10:40)
Martha had been drawn away from Jesus, her attention diverted to the tasks. While focusing on the list, she was missing out on the gift – the presence of Jesus.
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
I can completely relate to Martha’s struggle. The dishes are not going to wash themselves and food doesn’t miraculously show up on the table. But what Martha is missing is that those things can wait. Jesus wasn’t about physical appearances. He wasn’t impressed by upgraded kitchens or well-coordinated shades of grey in the living room. He didn’t awe at the size of her tv. He was about relationships – communion with others – and we should be too.
When I rush through the grocery store check-out line so I can quickly drop the cold items at home before making it to yoga, I miss the opportunity to identify the hurt in the cashier’s eyes. I fly past a God-ordained encounter to be used by Him. Distracted by many things, I omit the one thing.
If your to-do list is long and overwhelming, take it to God. Ask Him to show you which items are most important to accomplish in a given day and schedule the others in elsewhere. While grabbing a quick cup of coffee, take the time to observe your surroundings. Ask the Lord to prompt you to speak if a stranger needs an encouraging word. With His help, we can incorporate our many things with His One Thing.