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As a child, I was inevitable to the fact that I would have to grow up. More than anything, I wished as Taylor Swift’s song indicates, that I could always “stay this little.” But as with this phase of growing up, childhood lasts a mere few years, and then we are thrown into a bleak and hard reality. A harsh world that is filled with a lot more heartache, troubles, and fears than our childhood bargained it would receive.
When I was ten years old, I remember seeing the poor choices my half-borthers took. As they partook in drugs, drinking, theft, and abuse, I was given a vivid illustration of how not to “grow up.”
By the time I was fourteen years old, my father got really sick and was placed on disability. Almost overnight, I became the second parent in my home and a victim of emotional and verbal abuse. No longer would I partake in childhood affairs. No longer would I remain a little girl as hard as I tried.
Today, I am twenty-six years old, and I long for that childhood. I long for the moments when I could play outside, run around, and maintain an obliviousness to the real world. I wish that I could rest my feet from the internal running my mind never ceases.
Someone Else Is Running
In Luke chapter 10, beginning at verse 38, Jesus meets two sisters who also long to rest their feet. But while Martha is busy in the kitchen, Mary looks at the scene around her and chooses stillness.
She is aware that things need to be done.
She is aware that her feet have places to go, and her hands have tasks to attend to.
Yet, Jesus tells us in verse forty-two that “Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing to sit at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her” (Luke 10:42, The Passion Translation).
At a glance, it can be easy to see why Martha would be so upset.
Jesus has arrived at their home, and the house is far from what she wants it to look like. I imagine maybe there are dishes that need put away, beds that need to be made, laundry that needs to be done, and a meal needing to be cooked. On top of all of that, your sister is sitting at the feet of the man who you know is royalty.
Something within you is jealous.
You want to sit at His feet.
You want to rest from the work.
You wish your sister would just pitch in a hand!
But while Martha is consumed in the busyness of daily life tasks and affairs, Mary has chosen to set those things aside. Mary knows that there are important tasks to be done. In fact, I would even argue to guess that she sees them, and her sister working so hard to complete them on her own! Maybe she even feels some compassion and empathy for her sister, wishing she would just rest and join her!
But I also believe that Mary knew those tasks would still be waiting on her long after Jesus was gone. And she wished Martha could see that.
But You Won’t Always Have Me
Mary knew that after one meal, there would again be dishes needing to be done.
Mary knew that after one week, there would again be clothes needing to be washed, dried, folded, and ironed.
Mary knew that after one visitation with Jesus, her chores and distractions would still be waiting on her, but her life would never again remain the same.
Mary knew that the Messiah they had all been waiting for was in her house, and while her duties would still be there, He would not.
Friends, the reality of this Scripture is that we can always do X (you fill in the blank) later, but we won’t always get time with Jesus. As human beings, we are given a finite time here on this earth. Our job is to seek and save the lost; we are Jesus’ hands and feet to a hurting world. But that time will not last forever.
Yes, it is crucial that we take care of our homes and the lives we live within them.
Yes, it is essential that we work hard at our jobs, provide for our families, and take care of what God has blessed us with in our lives.
Choose His Presence
But when we become too concerned and busy with all we have to do that we never take time to spend with the Father, I am concerned that we have forfeited the true prize of life.
While those of us who are saved have an eternity in Heaven with Jesus to look forward to, our time here on earth to give others that same gift is limited.
Jesus was in the presence of Mary and Martha, but only one of them was truly in His presence. Only one of them was listening to His Word, leaning in, and wanting more. The other was so caught up in the busyness, that she missed the One she’d been waiting her whole life to encounter.
In all honesty, there are too many times that I feel like Martha and am a Martha at heart. And while I consistently read my Bible, go to church, volunteer, and pray, I also know that I get easily distracted, too caught up in the stress of worldly concerns.
Things like finances, family issues, relationship issues, friendship problems, work stress, author plans, daydreams, adventures, and hobbies all too quickly cloud and overtake my vision. And while they all need to be attended to, I have to fight to place Christ first, and everything else second.
Choose His Feet
But if Jesus were physically with me, would I stop and dine with Him or keep working?
If Jesus knocked on your door, would you finish your 5K, a 5,000-word essay, and 5 piles of laundry first, or run to open the door?
In Luke 10:38-41, Jesus says these words:
“As Jesus and the disciples continued on their journey, they came to a village where a woman welcomed Jesus into her home. Her name was Martha and she had a sister named Mary. Mary sat down attentively before the Master, absorbing every revelation he shared. But Martha became exasperated with finishing the numerous household chores in preparation for her guests, so she interrupted Jesus and said, “Lord, don’t you think it’s unfair that my sister left me to do all the work by myself? You should tell her to get up and help me.” The Lord answered her, “Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions” (Luke 10:38-41, The Passion Translation)?
While Jesus’ physical body is not present with us today, the same lesson applies. His time with us and our relationship with Him should matter most. They have to matter most. This is why Matthew 6:33 tells us, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33, English Standard Version) because He knows how easily enticed and distracted we are by the things of this world.
It is a challenge to choose to rest at the feet of Jesus when your to-do list grows, the kids are screaming, you have 500 papers to grade, and bills to pay. But the best part of learning to rest at Jesus’ feet is this: it takes time, yet as all children know, growing up is a process.
Children at Heart
Jesus tells us in the beatitudes that blessed are the meek and poor in spirit, for they shall inherit the kingdom of God. And you know who is usually meek, poor, and willing to admit their struggles and mistakes or ask for help? Children.
Although I had to grow up fast, I am encouraged that in the eyes of Jesus, I get to remain a child forever. My head may be mature like an adult (and should be), but my heart will be like a child, willing, eager, and steadfast to learn from her Heavenly Father.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:3-12, English Standard Version).
Let us pray:
Dear God, as the Message Version of Luke 10 explains, help us to focus on you above all our to-do list items. I do not want to be pulled away by all I have to do. I want to be focused on you. As we grow and mature in this way, help us maintain a humble and childlike spirit filled with awe and wonder, but remain steadfast in the promises you give us. Help us to choose to sit at your feet even when it is hard. Help us to choose you above the noise. Amen.