Another couple is arriving soon for dinner. You know how it is: you scour the house to ensure it is squeaky clean. You frantically declutter, clearing off tables and counters, throwing unneeded items in drawers and cabinets. Amid those chores, you are in and out of the kitchen, trying to prepare your culinary masterpiece. Your friends arrive, and you are so exhausted that you can barely enjoy the meal. And then comes the cleanup. After all, you can’t have your company looking at dirty dishes. While scrubbing pots and pans and arranging plates in the dishwasher, you notice your spouse sitting on the couch, laughing it up with your pals while enjoying a cup of coffee. Later, you know that you and your significant other will inevitably have a few moments of intense Christian fellowship. Sound familiar?
In Luke 10, we find the familiar story of Mary and Martha. Martha invites Jesus into her home and–understandably–wants to demonstrate unprecedented hospitality. While trying to make everything perfect, she sees her sister, Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to His teaching (the position of a disciple). She is outraged and chastises her sister, demanding that Jesus commands her to get busy. But He doesn’t; instead, he says: “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 10:41, 42).
Jesus does not deny the importance of hard work and hospitality, nor is He condoning laziness. Martha is letting a good thing–namely hard work–keep her from the best thing (sitting at the feet of Jesus), and therein lies the issue.
As I pointed out yesterday, the Bible admonishes believers to work diligently. Work, though, is not the priority in the Christian’s life; it should not take precedence over the worship of our great God. If we are not careful, our careers can consume us. Workaholics tend to plan spiritual disciplines–such as church attendance, prayer, and Bible study–around their work. The Bible, however, admonishes us to prioritize sitting at the feet of Jesus–as it were–above all things.
What takes priority in your life? Don’t let the good things keep you from the best things.