“As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:38-42.
Martha, Martha, Martha. We can all put ourselves in Martha’s shoes. Company has come at the last minute so all the last minute details need to be worked out: the table must be set, food prepared. Martha set about taking care of all that and frankly, she needed Mary’s help. Most people would side with Martha in this scenario because we’ve all had those moments when there was too much to do, too little time, and not enough help. The urgent often keeps us from putting first things first.
What was Mary doing? We can only conclude that Mary gave her attention to Jesus. We can imagine that Jesus talked to her about His travels and His teaching. Jesus may have talked with her about real-life issues or the matters of the heart. Mary must have hung on every word that Jesus offered. Mary’s life was ordinary enough, but when Jesus came to town something extraordinary was taking place. Mary just wouldn’t miss the opportunity. We have all been in situations where we had, but missed an opportunity because we were too busy with something else. Not Mary. Mary wouldn’t pass up the most important thing: spending time with Jesus.
What would happen if we all had a little Mary in us? What would happen if we put first things first? What would happen if we placed as much importance on spending time with Jesus as Mary did? I wonder what would happen if we spent as much time in prayer and hearing the words of Christ as we do in taking care of the urgent tasks of the day? Putting Jesus first. It’s the easiest thing to do and the hardest thing to do.
Putting Jesus first means that we want Him so much that the other stuff becomes secondary. And it become secondary every day. It’s not passive. It is just Jesus, first and foremost because we love Him and we want to follow Him. In the presence of Jesus the “tyranny of the urgent” fades, and we discover the power of putting first things first.
- If you saw yourself first and foremost as a child of God, what would change in your life?
- What daily habits can you develop to better ensure you put first things first?