Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 88; 148, Micah 6:1-8, Revelation 9:13-21, Luke 10:38-42
Search “productivity” on Amazon.com, and you’ll get more than 32,000 results. A few decades ago modern conveniences like microwaves, dishwashers, and computers promised to free us from the drudgery of labor. In reality, most of us have crammed that extra time, both at work and at home, with yet more tasks. In many industries productivity is measured in increments of seconds, and we learn to judge ourselves in terms of efficiency. The past was not necessarily better, but it was certainly simpler. Or was it?
When Jesus entered a certain village, Martha invited him into her home. Her sister, Mary sat at his feet and listened to what he had to say. Martha, distracted by many tasks, asked why Jesus didn’t seem to care she was doing all the work by herself. Jesus told her: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Remember that Martha extended the invitation. We don’t know what her specific tasks were, but they probably included what she thought were efforts to be a good hostess. Ironically, that seemed to involve everything but spending time with her guest. Was she really resentful of Mary, or was she frustrated that she couldn’t shrug off her own slavishness to productivity? We never learn how Martha responded, but one can imagine a moment of stunned silence as she realized she was complaining about a problem of her own making.
After we invite Christ into our lives, do we choose the one thing or the distractions? Is the bulk of our time at church spent tending the building or the flock? Are we too busy making sure people know we are Christian to actually model Christ? Is our prayer time filled with words or silence?
There is always plenty to be done, and we must make time for the doing, but we must also remember the doing is not more important than the being: being in the presence of God and God’s children.
Comfort: You can slow down. You can even stop once in a while.
Challenge: Make a list of the things you do simply because you think other people expect you to. What could you cross off?
Prayer: Eternal God, teach me to be mindful and present. Amen.
Discussion: In what ways have you created unnecessary work for yourself?
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