The Lord answered, “Martha, Martha! You are worried and upset about so many things,…â€ Â Â Luke 10:41 (CEV)
God speaking to me about being â€œworried and upsetâ€ the week before Christmas is no surprise. This whole story of Martha and Mary could be written for any time when you have a houseful of people! That is the easy to see moment when you can get overwhelmed by the â€œallâ€ of it. But how often are we caught by surprise with feelings of stress and worry? Too often.
As a nurse, this time of the year is crazy busy! People come in to have elective surgeries while they have the â€œpaid time offâ€ to do so. People come through the Emergency Room with colds they ignored until they now have bronchitis or pneumonia or they decide to do a risky household chore or athletic game that they do not have the skills to accomplish well and they are injured! We even have â€œregularsâ€ who came in with chest pain during this time every year. Sadness and a-loneness can bring on chest pain even to the point of a real heart attack, documented by labwork and EKG’s.
Even churches add to the stress with choir concerts and pageants. Then there are class parties, children’s parties, and senior saints’ outings. How do you fit that in with work-related parties and family traditions? I used to get a migraine when I went back to my hometown for the holidays. My parents and my spouse’s parents lived in the same town. Both expected us to eat Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner with them. Both expected us to attend their Christmas Eve service with them. Both! Both! Both!
I’m sure you can add to this small list of stress-makers and worry-producers! What does Jesus say about being worried and upset?
â€œ…but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen what is best, and it will not be taken away from her.” Â Â Â Luke 10:42 (CEV)
Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet instead of worrying about the food going on the table. Jesus says that â€œis bestâ€. For those of us who are â€œMartha’sâ€, we are not happy with Jesus’ answer. There are â€œthingsâ€ to be done! People who are counting on us! â€œIf I don’t do it, who will?â€
I think Jesus’ point was about â€œprioritiesâ€. Come to Him first. Take the time to listen and learn from Jesus first. So the meal is an hour later. Most of us will not die of starvation! How many churches have canceled Sunday morning service on December 25? And of those who will have a service, how many are anticipating less than 30% of their average attendance? This is a sad commentary about our priorities. Family time is important. But it doesn’t come before my LORD and my children and grandchildren need to know that. It is not â€œdutyâ€ that brings me to worship but love and thanksgiving for the One who loved and chose me before I chose Him!
This is the season that is all about choice. God chose His only Son to come and save us. Mary and Joseph chose to be obedient to God’s call to be Jesus’ earthly parents. The shepherds and wise men chose to respond to the angels and a star to â€œCome and meet the King of kings!â€. What will be my choices this week? And on every day after that? Will I choose the BEST?