We are all very busy. We live in a hundred miles a minute society where we juggle commitments and work and relationships and hobbies and finances and to-do lists; and every thing moves so fast and is constantly progressing...it’s exhausting, and it’s chaotic and our hectic lives dominate a lot of our time and our thoughts. I don’t know if this is true for anyone else, but I am guilty of not turning my mind off from all these things, of not taking 5 minutes to be calm and still and peaceful. I am guilty of going to church to spend time with God and to sit at the feet of Christ, and yet I sit there and my mind wanders and I think of all the other things I have to do on Sunday, and what I need to be ready for work on Monday, do I need petrol in my car, have I bought a birthday card for a friend, what am I having for dinner later, I need to have a conversation with such-and-such about ‘the thing’. My mind wanders and strays and at the end of an hour, the one time that is specifically scheduled in and set aside for God in my week has been spent thinking about everything but Him - apart from maybe a rushed mental prayer to say “Oh Lord, I have so much on my plate, can you please help me this week, strengthen me and help me through”. Sound familiar? This isn’t good, this isn’t okay, it doesn’t build my faith or strengthen me, in fact it’s tiring. Spending time with Christ should be refreshing and nourishing and fulfilling, but I’m doing it wrong, and I wonder if you are too?
In Luke 10:38-42, two sisters are in the presence of Christ. Martha is like me, she has a million things on her mind, 10 million chores to do and she feels she’s doing it all alone, the tasks she has to do are filling her mind and she's flustered. Meanwhile, Mary is “sat at the Lords feet, listening”. I can imagine that for Martha that was really frustrating! She was running around preparing, doing all her jobs, spinning ten different plates while her sister who could have been helping her, just SAT there, listening! But actually, Jesus teaches us to be more like Mary, not Martha. He says “Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her”. God wants us to take 5. He wants you to rest, to sit in his presence and actually be PRESENT. Be there with Him, don’t let your body be in His house, while your mind wanders everywhere else.
The more I think about this the more I realise how guilty I am. I’m 22, so I’m of the millennial generation, and that means that my phone is attached to my hand at all times (it’s a great flaw, I know and I’m working on it). But that means that I do this even more than I would care to admit. I will be sat with my friends or my family or my fiancé and although I’m aware of them there, and I'm participating in what we’re doing - chatting, watching TV together, spending quality time - I’m not fully there, because I’m also sat phone in hand, texting others, or scrolling through Instagram, or filling out paperwork for my job, or online shopping, or planning birthday presents or looking at holiday destinations. I’m not fully present, I’m physically there but my mind and my eyes are elsewhere and that’s not good enough. I’m Martha trying to do everything and really I’m doing it all by halves because I’m not taking the time for each thing. Like your loved ones, your friends, your family, God calls you to be fully present with him. He calls you to just sit and listen. He calls you to have a chat with him and spend quality time in His presence. He calls you to put your phone down, to put your to do list to one side, to be at peace in your mind, not not be distracted for 5 minutes. He calls you to be more like Mary.
I had a bit of a revelation this morning. I saw a wife feeling under the weather and take a seat, I saw her husband go to her to help her out. And I watched as he then picked up all the things that could have been on her mind and taking care of them so that she could rest. He asked somebody else to take her place and pick up the task she’d been doing. He explained the situation to others affected. He made sure someone else could pick up his task so he could be with her. He asked for prayer. And then he went to be with her and accommodate her needs. This is what happens when we sit in God’s presence. We take a seat, and God picks up everything on your mind. So when you come to Him, when you take a seat, you don't need to worry about all those things that are consuming your mind, you need to focus on Him, and He'll focus on the rest.
He welcomes you to come and sit in His peace. Sit in His presence and listen. Spend some quality time with Him. It’s okay to have a million things going on, to be busy and concerned with things you need to do (that's part of life!) - but when you come to be with Him, let Him hold those things while you rest in His presence. All those plates you have spinning, God will keep them spinning while you spend time with Him.
Our natural position in life tends to push us towards being a Martha. But I challenge myself and you, take 10 minutes and try to be more like Mary. Let God hold onto the million things on your mind, and be PRESENT with Him. Rest in His presence; sit and listen.