Have you ever felt as if you were drowning in an ocean of responsibilities? Somehow, our boundary lines faded with the endless traffic of tasks. Let me be the first to raise my hand. Although I have read time management books, tried to maximize personal energy, changed my responses, and repainted my margin lines, my only lifesaver lied in the archives of the Bible.
I’ve been face-to-face with hurricane, “Responsibilities.” Its severe force has leveled my days and left me wiped out. When this happens, I’ve had to stop, reflect, and honestly assess why I continue to add more responsibilities to an overcommitted day.
Women are notorious for having overextended calendars. We toil and labor until life becomes a seamless string of exhausting obligations. In fact, as we look back in time, our soul-sister Martha tried to survive the same storm.
Target Dishes for Jesus!
I’m sure you’ve heard the story about Martha and Mary in Luke 10:38-42 that took place in Martha and Mary’s home. They had invited friends, and Jesus was their guest of honor.
Today, we would receive a text response informing us that Jesus was coming over. We’d pull out our Target dishes, start the BBQ grill, and prepare an Israeli recipe we found on Pinterest. We’d stress about the lack of time, the dog hair on the couch, the recipe we never tried, and the screaming kids running around the house.
Our Biblical Martha would have fit well in our 21st Century culture. Perhaps different challenges, but she was worried. As Martha’s day continued, the event ballooned. Disgruntled Martha prepared her home while Mary prepared her heart for a deeper connection with Jesus–instant tension.
Examine Our Words
Words are like an open window with a view into the chambers of our hearts. Martha’s words expressed great emotion. Frustrated, Martha said, “Lord, do You not care…,” Luke 10:40 (New American Standard Bible).
In contrast, Jesus shared a temperate response. He addressed the issue that caused Martha pain, “…you are worried and bothered about so many things,” Luke 10:41 (NASB).
Jesus wanted Martha to take a path of self-discovery. She was connected to the external responsibility of the day and neglected her internal responsibility. Jesus wanted Martha to understand that God’s love was not the result of external connection, but internal connection.
Examine Our Motives
Sometimes, we add unnecessary responsibilities because we’re worried about a presumed outcome. We become a chronic Martha. We fear that something won’t turn out right unless we control the situation.
I want a pay raise.
I want friends.
I want the favor of God.
I want acceptance.
I want to be a good Christian.
“I” can become the debilitating motive of our actions. When the responsibilities balloon, we can feel dejected and wonder, “Lord, do you care?”
How to Do Less Without Worry
Jesus spoke to Martha with compassion, as He often speaks to us.
God wants us to understand that God’s love is not the result of external connection, but internal connection.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
– Matthew 6:33 (NASB)
Here’s a practical way to subdue “Martha” tendencies. Think about the motive behind your next action as you pray for direction. Don’t say “yes” until you’ve had an opportunity to consult God and your own heart. Simple, but effective.
Life is a grace-enriched process where God helps us decrease our desires, so His desires can increase in our lives. Our “Martha” tendencies will change as we enjoy intimacy with God and serve Him with a responsive heart.
Share your burning tips!
How has Luke 10:38-42 changed your life? Share your insights in the comments below. You never know who you will bless.
Have a wonderful weekend.
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.