This past Sunday I preached from Luke 10:38-42, where we find that Martha was distracted with much serving; she was troubled and anxious about many things. There was a meal to be prepared, and Martha felt the burden of all the service that had to take place. She was distracted by these many tasks and Jesus rebukes her for this.
So, what is the real issue here? Is Martha’s busyness the issue, or is it something else? Is she doing too much or is she not doing enough?
Well, Jesus does not rebuke Martha for her service. He actually rebukes her for being anxious and troubled by many things, while neglecting Him. Martha’s heart was focused upon worldly concerns while Jesus Christ himself was right there in her house. She has welcomed Jesus into her house, and now she is neglecting Him for the sake of service to Him.
What does this mean for us? Do we need to stop being so busy? Maybe, especially if our busyness is self-seeking and self-serving. But the problem with focusing solely on what we need to stop doing is that we neglect the issues of the heart. If I find myself busy with social media and decide to fast from it for a time, there is a very good possibility that I will just replace this type of busyness with something else, especially if I don’t address the heart-issue. This is why it is typically easy to address external issues; we know that we can just replace those external issues with something else, but when we address issues of the heart, it is war. The heart is deceitful (Jer. 17:9), and when we fight against its lusts and passions, it will fight back. So, if we begin with the issue of busyness we will only tackle the fruit of the problem instead of the root of the problem. The problem isn’t that we are busy; the problem is that we love ourselves and we love the things of this world. Therefore, if we want to sever the sin from our lives, we must look to Jesus, and sit as His feet like Mary did (Luke 10:39).
When we are frantic and troubled by all that needs to be done, the best thing we can possibly do is sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to His Words. Worship is at the heart of all we do, and if we want to offer up a life of worship, then we must feast upon the Word of God, both intellectually and devotionally.
This isn’t optional for the Christian life. In fact, we are treading upon dangerous ground when we neglect Christ to do other things, whether in service to Christ or in service to ourselves. If we neglect Christ and get caught up with the cares of this world, we run the risk of being choked out by thorns. Luke 8:14 reads, “And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.” Thankfully, in contrast, verse 15 reads, “As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” If we run to Christ and abide in Him, we will bear the fruit that leads to eternal life.
A great book about busyness: Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung