I have an interesting social experiment for you to try. When you see acquaintances around town, church, or school, ask them this question: "How has your week been?" More often than not, the response will be something along these lines: "Oh, I've been so busy! It's been a crazy week at work/home/school/etc." Or the other response: "I'm so tired. I didn't get much sleep last night, I had so much to do."
How many times have you had this conversation? The world around us tell us if you're not busy, you're not important. And we willingly play along. It's as if there's some sort of glory in being overwhelmed to the point of exhaustion. God forbid we sit down for a minute to catch our breath. Bring on the guilt: the laundry isn't being folded, the weeds aren't being whacked, or our that project isn't getting started. If there's a free block of time in schedule, it means we're not doing everything we're supposed to.
To top it off, we don't know what to do with silence anymore. Silence settles over us like a thick fog. In those moments, it's just unsettling. When's the last time you rode in the car with the radio on? I'm not just talking about auditory silence: smartphones make silence impossible. There's always a text message to answer, an article to read, or, if all else fails, a cell phone game to play (waiting rooms, anyone?).
We're longing for that peace and contentment. We search for it in the busyness of life. We make ourselves so busy with very good things that we forget the best thing. Sitting at the King's table. Or at His feet.
" 38b And a woman named Martha welcomed [Jesus] into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 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.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
- Mark 10:38b-42 (ESV)
Which sister do you identify with more closely? Mary, the one who sat at Jesus' feet, or Martha, who ran herself ragged with very good things. Here's the thing that always gets to me with this story: the things that Martha was doing were necessary! If Martha didn't do what she was doing, everyone would be hungry! Jesus doesn't rebuke Martha for doing things that were superfluous. He rebukes her because He knows that Martha's heart was consumed with busyness.
You may be swamped. Overwhelmed. Exhausted. Even if you're aware of this, you may feel like everything you're doing is necessary. And you might even be right! But where is your priority? Are you seeking out the moments of silence and stillness to sit at the feet of Jesus? To soak in His teaching? Are you building time into your full schedule to be with the Lord? Or has your relationship with Christ become collateral damage of the busyness business?
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
- Psalm 46:10-11 (ESV)