The Choice To Be Busy

January 21, 2016

I’ve received two parking tickets in my whole life.

Both in the same semester at Patten. Both for my Wednesday morning class. Both because I was running late because I woke up late because I was up late the night before for Music practices at church. Both because I forgot to read the sign of “Street Sweeping on Wednesdays – parking tickets issued for any car parked here.” And the funny thing is…I knew about those signs because I had been going to Patten for three years. I didn’t make the mistake because I didn’t know, I made the mistake because I was rushing, in a hurry and was in crisis mode because I was late..

I was reading 19 Mistakes I’m Not Going to Make in 2016 when I made this significant (or not-so-significant) discovery about myself. When I rush, I don’t think things through clearly. When I’m in a hurry, my brain misses important pieces. When I’m in crisis mode, my heart isn’t engaged with my head.

…and the last piece is where the biggest problem lies with busy-ness in our daily lives.There was a movement a few years ago among the blogger world proclaiming “Stop the glorification of busy.” The photo is still circulating Pinterest, and it’s a great concept because it reminds us that using the excuse of “I’m busy” doesn’t build relationships or real lives. It builds busy walls that divide and distract us from what really matters.

We know the story of Mary & Martha in the Bible, and this is the story usually used to remind us of the folly of our busy ways and lives.

But what if we took a closer look at this story? What was really going on?

Now while they were on their way, Jesus entered a village [called Bethany], and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and was continually listening to His teaching.But Martha was very busy and distracted with all of her serving responsibilities; and she approached Him and said, “Lord, is it of no concern to You that my sister has left me to do the serving alone? Tell her to help me and do her part.” But the Lord replied to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered and anxious about so many things;but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part [that which is to her advantage], which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42, AMP)

The way we paint this story is often “Mary = good, Martha = bad,” where the reality is that what Martha was doing was not bad, it just wasn’t to her advantage as we see the Amplified version of the Bible emphasize.

Martha was very busy and distracted with all of her serving responsibilities –maybe she was anxiously attending to them in an effort to seek perfection — much like you and me in our day-to-day lives. Maybe she didn’t have choir practice, dinner to get on the table, ladies ministry and Sunday school to worry about, but her concerns were just as legitimate as ours today. And I can’t help but wonder every time I read this story that maybe she was just a little bit more like you and me, and feared slowing down because maybe, just maybe, if she sat down she would be vulnerable to her heart. She would be vulnerable to the feelings and the impact of Jesus’ words.

We often smother our true feelings with busy-ness. We glorify the things we are doing because they are good things for good purposes. But ultimately, these good things are not the best things, and they are not to our advantage. Living a peaceful life with a focus on the King, with time to sit at the feet of Jesus is to our advantage. It is the best thing.

And ultimately, what we leave behind will not be the things we did rushing around in our busy-ness, but the things we did with our whole heart engaged, most likely when we were in seasons of stillness.

Life is too short to be busy.

Make the best choice. Sit at the feet of Jesus. Live with purpose.