December 24, 2009
Planning for the Presence of Jesus
"But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made."
Luke 10:40 (NIV)
I tend to consider myself a "Martha" type personality. And I don't mean Martha Stewart. That Martha was ready for Christmas in October, I'm sure.
No, I'm nothing like Martha Stewart. In fact, a few years ago I didn't even manage to decorate the tree. It had lights on it ONLY because it was a pre-lit tree! I managed to put a few gifts under it before Christmas because my dear children kept looking at me with big hopeful eyes, asking when I was going to wrap SOMETHING. But that was it. No cards. No Christmas concerts or caroling. No trip to see lights. Just a busy life made even busier.
For those who know the Luke 10 story of Martha and her sister Mary, that's the Martha I'm talking about. That Martha had the privilege of hosting Jesus in her home. But instead of sitting at His feet, like her sister Mary did, Martha worked and complained to Jesus that Mary wasn't helping her.
Let's put ourselves in that scene for a moment. Jesus has come to YOUR house. To visit YOU. And not only are you too busy to spend some time with Him, but the time you do have you spend complaining. You complain about "someone" not doing her job, and how you have to do all this work, and if only "someone" would help you then you could actually sit down and enjoy some time with Jesus and blah, blah, blah…
Martha wasted an amazing opportunity. And many times, so do I. She let the demands of every day overshadow the call of the divine. In fact, Jesus gently chided Martha, and affirmed Mary's choice to sit and spend time with Him in the middle of all the work that had to be done.
In verse 42 we read that Jesus told Martha her sister did what was "needed." So in Jesus' mind, whatever Martha was doing wasn't needed at that moment…whether it was to impress, pamper or comfort Him. Jesus just wanted Martha to sit down and spend time with Him.
Imagine if you had travelled far to visit the home of a friend. And in her desire to serve you, she never spends time with you. Do you know anyone like that? Don't you want to say, "Sit down. Relax. All this stuff doesn't matter. I came to spend time with you."
That's just what Jesus was saying to Martha. In other words,
Martha, thank you for caring about my needs. But, you don't have to worry so much. There's only one thing I want right now, and that's to spend time with you. Mary gets it. Come sit down next to your sister. The dishes will wait. But you won't have this time with Me very much longer.
Martha probably wasn't given much notice of Jesus' arrival, hence her rushing around. We, however, have been. Just as you would prepare for the arrival of a special guest to your home, I invite you to prepare for the presence of Jesus this Christmas.
Have you ever let the demands of the everyday pull you away from the divine? Have you ever chosen a good thing over the best thing? You're not alone. Today, I invite you to set aside all the preparations and distractions and sit in the presence of Jesus.
We don't have to do anything special to enjoy Jesus' company. We just have to quiet ourselves from the busyness of the day, take a deep breath, and allow Jesus to fill our hearts with His joy and peace. It can be sitting outside looking at the stars, listening to carols, or sipping a cup of coffee in front of a fire. Just sit down with nothing else to do and invite Jesus to join you.
When I think back about the scene recorded in Luke 10, between Martha and Mary, I can tell which sister had more peace in her life. And it wasn't Martha. This Christmas I definitely want to plan for the presence of Jesus - that's really all I need.
Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of Your son Jesus. As I go through this Christmas and the upcoming year, please help me set priorities that are pleasing to You. Help me remember to plan to enjoy the presence of Jesus more than I plan for the details. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Visit Glynnis' blog where she shares tips for simplifying your holidays
by Jennifer Kennedy Dean
For more encouragement on intentionally focusing on Christ during busy seasons, click here
Spend some time in prayer, asking God to show you His priorities for you this day and over the next year. Write down one or two things God brings to mind.
In holiday seasons past, when have you experienced the presence of Jesus most? Be specific.
How does time alone with Jesus change you?
Luke 10:41-42, "‘Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, ‘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.'" (NIV)
Philippians 4:7, "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (NIV)
© 2009 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Thursday, 24 December 2009.