Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “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 10:38-42
I have come back to this passage over and over again as we press deeper into this period of social distancing. I keep coming back because I keep seeing so much of Martha in myself. Her issue isn’t that she’s working. That’s not what this passage is about at all. Martha’s problem is that she’s distracted, anxious, and troubled. That’s what Jesus points out. That’s what Jesus wants to lead her out of and it’s what He wants to lead us out of as well. I keep coming back because I need the daily reminder that the one thing we truly need is the one thing that can never be taken from us. I keep coming back to hear the voice of God, the voice that melts anxiety, fear, and distraction.
And I’m not the only one who needs to keep coming back to this truth. We all do. I read an article yesterday that told us that 43% of American adults say their emotional health has gotten worse over the past week. For what it’s worth, I also think that means 57% of survey respondent are either (a) way more spiritually mature than I am or (b) lying. You decide! But I don’t know anyone who isn’t feeling a little distracted these days. It’s where our hearts and minds naturally go during times of uncertainty and upheaval. And, now, we have 24/7 internet access to relentlessly fuel it all.
All of which means we need to cultivate rhythms that enable us to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to His voice, even in the midst of a pandemic. He’s speaking through the miracle of His Word and the presence of His Spirit. He’s inviting us to believe that He’s real, to believe that He’s still good, and to believe that He’s still for us and not against us. He’s inviting us to make King David’s prayer our prayer during this time:
Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul.Psalm 86:11-13
Those rhythms are going to look a little different for each of us but here are a few that I’ve found helpful:
- Getting up at the same time I always do to spend time with God in the quiet of the morning.
- Only allowing myself to check the news and social media twice a day. For what it’s worth, this is the hardest one for me!
- Pausing 2-3 times during the day to be still, to pray, and to read a short passage of Scripture.
- Participating in our RCC Prayer Nights every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 8PM.
- Continuing to practice a weekly Sabbath.
- Intentionally engaging with the sermon and other Sunday morning content we make available rather than having it play in the background while I multi-task.
- Continuing to meet with my Community Group, just online.
- Going to bed at the same time I always do so I can get up and do it all again tomorrow.
Lord Jesus, teach us to listen. Teach us to hear your voice. Teach us to enjoy Your presence. Help us step away from the chaos and to just be still.