“Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’ ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” Luke 10: 38 - 42
In a society where everything is available on demand and instantaneously, our lives are becoming faster paced. A 24/7 lifestyle is becoming the norm; night turns into day and day turns into night. Who needs sleep anyway?! Mobile phone screens and a busy social life seem to give today’s world the energy it needs to stay awake.
At times, this amazing technology and all the other distractions that go with it can be more restrictive than useful; we want everything done yesterday and when technology doesn’t work like it should it’s incredibly frustrating. I’m sure many of you reading this will have experienced “Window’s Minutes” and the “Blue Screen of Death”. Not only does technology increase our expectations, it’s also changing the way we interact with others. I only need to look around at the train carriage on the way to work in the morning and see every face staring down at an electronic device of some sort. I'm often one of those people; I'll normally be reading, replying to an email or browsing the internet. All these things are becoming so ingrained in society that they've overtaken human interaction. In 2012, Ofcom concluded that text based communication had overtaken face to face interaction for the first time in the UK; not sure how they measure that but there you go.
When it comes to balancing work, social life, housework and all the million and one other things we come across in our lives that "need" to be done, I think it's so easy to lose sight of what's actually important in our lives. Our world is always telling us that we need bigger, better and faster and subtlety challenges us all to keep up. Satan loves all this, as any distractions keep us from getting closer to God and our service for him.
I am so guilty of getting caught up with technology and distractions of this world. I think if we’re honest with ourselves, we’re all guilty. Whether we enjoy films, TV, social media, books… all of these things take up our time and, at least in my case, often too much of it. In themselves they're not bad things, but collectively they keep us from God and when things like that take control over your life and you no longer have much time for God, that becomes a problem.
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
The Bible values rest and peaceful living. During Jesus’ time on Earth, He escaped the busyness of the crowds occasionally to rest and renew His strength. Mark 6:31 says, “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to [His disciples], ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’”
Going back to the passage which was quoted at the start in Luke chapter 10 where we read about Mary and Martha: If we're honest, most of the time our lives are more like Martha’s than Mary’s. We rush around doing the things that “need to be done” (!) and what's seen as important in our eyes while often missing out on precious time with God. As difficult as it is, and as opposite to our society as it is, we need to intentionally make the effort to slow down and model Mary because, as Jesus himself said, “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Philippians 4:6–7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” To maintain a close fellowship with God requires actively making time for Him. Let the phone call go to voicemail, the jobs around the house can wait, and social media could use a break. Those things are not eternal. Jesus is eternal.
What lessons can we learn from this? After thinking more about all these things and letting God speak, I’m reminded of the importance of ensuring I make time for my Saviour each day. Isaiah 55:6 says, “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.”