“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).
There are those who always seem to be busy. They are always in a rush to get where they are going and never seem to have any time to enjoy their life. Some of this may be caused simply by overextending themselves such as agreeing to do too many things at once. Another reason may be that they are attempting to accomplish more than they are called to do, but whatever the cause busyness is one way in which we feel important. I mean if we’re busy it means we are in demand; and if we are in demand it must mean we are important, and if we aren’t then we must not be important, and we simply can’t have that.
Whenever talk of busyness comes up I remember Jesus’ time as a guest in the house of Mary and Martha. Most of us know the story so let me just say, “Martha was busy about many things while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet.” This seeming laziness on Mary’s part sent the busy Martha into a tailspin; so she told Jesus ,”Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” Jesus’ answer probably surprised Martha when He said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:40-42).
You see being a servant is what we are called to be but when our time serving turns into busyness for busyness’ sake it becomes wasteful. Jesus didn’t tell Martha serving was unimportant; He simply pointed out what Mary was doing, by sitting at His feet, was the most important. Oddly enough God has a way of taking what we give Him and multiplying it. So for me the lesson here is clear. If we see our time with Christ as the most important time spent the rest will fall into place.
Throughout the Bible we are called to rest. From the very beginning God gave us the Sabbath for us to rest. Jesus himself invites us to come to Him for rest, and again in the letter to the Hebrews we are told to “labor to enter into His rest” (Hebrews 4:11). Of course this doesn’t mean we spend our lives swinging in a hammock at the beach, even though that sounds pretty good to me, but it means we cease from “Our own works” and enter into God’s rest. When we enter into God’s rest He has a way of making our “work” if you will, more prosperous. He can show us how to do things in a much shorter time and even with fewer resources. Do you remember the story about the little boy and his loaves and fish feeding the thousands? Do you remember when Jesus told Peter to go fishing for their tax money? How about Him speaking the word and the Roman Centurion’s son being healed and Jesus didn’t even have to be present. You see When we make the most of our time God will accomplish more than we could ever imagine and it won’t be based on how busy we are either.
Speaking of making the most of the time reminds me of a conversation I recently had with a telemarketer. Lately we have been getting phone calls everyday from someone wanting to sell us something. Up until recently I would simply hang up on them, but now I have a new strategy. The phone rang and rather than listening for their questions I jumped in and started telling them about Jesus. I said, “Did you know that God loves us so much He sent His only begotten Son here to die for our sins? Can you imagine that the God who created the heavens and earth would go as far as to come here in order to save us? Have you ever received Jesus Christ into your life?” The man on the other end seemed to be actually listening at first but somewhere along the line he became distracted, maybe even frustrated and he ended the conversation. Usually I’m the one hanging up on them but this time I refused to let them control the outcome and shared Christ with them. I mean I already had them on the line I thought I would make the most of it.
Another time Tracey answered the phone, and she doesn’t like hanging up on them, so she’s nice to them. She said, “I don’t want to hang up on you, but I am hanging up now, “We love you!” As if it isn’t funny enough, that she would tell the telemarketer she loved them, the lady on the other end said, “AT&T loves you too!” Of course we got quite the laugh from that but my point is the same. Whether we are simply being still, working in the kitchen or sharing the gospel with telemarketers it is of utmost importance to make the most of our time.
There are many things in life that aren’t necessarily good or evil. I mean one person eats pork and another doesn’t. The one might think pork isn’t good for you but you can’t say it is evil, in itself. Some people don’t like men or women to have long or short hair but neither one is good or evil it is simply a preference.
Jesus stayed in the home of two sisters that had quite the difference of opinion about what was necessary, or most important. Mary and Martha were there names and they apparently had two very different opinions on priorities.
Martha was a servant. She thought serving was the most important thing to do and simply could not understand how her sister Mary could just sit in the living room while she did all the work. Martha came to Jesus and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” Jesus answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
While it isn’t wrong to work in the kitchen or be a servant it isn’t the primary thing. Martha was distracted from Jesus even in the midst of being a servant to him. Mary on the other hand had determined there was absolutely nothing that was going to tear her away from her Lord. She was going to sit at Jesus’ feet even if it did send Martha into a spin.
We can all have those moments when we are most like Martha. We get frustrated at work and feel like we are the only ones doing anything significant. We think, “why doesn’t so and so get over here and help” or “why do I have to do it all?”
When we do get those times to be like Mary we cherish them immensely. We find ourselves not wanting to ever go back into the kitchen again. We just want to stay at Jesus feet forever. Somehow we have to come to a place where we realize while doing the Martha stuff isn’t always fun it may be the only way we can do the Mary stuff. I for one think of my “work” as the Martha part that enables me to do the Mary part. I work until 4 P.M. and have two days off a week. Since I work during the day I am able to minister in the jail at night and attend church services on the Weekends. If it wasn’t for having those hours I may not get to do these things I love. If I can just remember the Martha work is what allows me to have the time to sit at Jesus’ feet it is much more tolerable. Once we see the listening part is the most important part we start to understand all the other stuff is only a means to an end.
Apparently the Apostle Paul was a tent maker. Even though he could receive monetary help from those he ministered to he worked with his own hands instead. He made tents so he could fund his own ministerial needs. This way he put no strain on anyone else’s pockets and therefore never had to rely on others to pay his bills. In fact at one point he said, “It would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one.” Paul was boasting in the fact that he could give out the gospel free of charge to remove any false accusations or entanglements. While it isn’t wrong for someone to make their living sharing the gospel it can create problems. Paul chose to be a tent-maker in order to be able to present the gospel free of charge. It was freely given to him and he was going to freely give it to any that would receive it.
When it comes to Martha I think she was feeling trapped in the kitchen. The revelation she needs is sitting at Jesus’ feet is the most important part. While serving others is part of the Christian life. I have found that if I spend a little time sitting with Jesus; the time I have to spend making tents or cooking in the kitchen goes much smoother. Once I get my priorities in order things tend to get accomplished with much less strain and frustration.
Written by Louie