Sometimes I feel like everything I do, all day long, is just minutes (or seconds) away from being undone, from being taken away from me. I vacuum the dining room floor, only for my two year old to dump a bowl of rice on it ten minutes later. Just when everyone is fed and the kitchen is clean, they’re all hungry again. As soon as the mountain of laundry is finally folded and put away, my toddler walks into my room wearing seven shirts and three pairs of pants (yes, I counted). I finally have a really good hair day, and it rains. You get the picture.
I woke early to spend time with the Lord recently (a new practice for me, a non-morning person who has always scheduled my time with the Lord at other more not-requiring-me-to-wake-early times; don’t think I’m more spiritual than I actually am!). As I made my tea and toast and looked around at the peaceful room which would soon descend into utter chaos with the awakening of my adorable children, Jesus’ words about Mary flooded my heart: “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42).
The interesting thing about Jesus’ words are that they were spoken to Martha, the doer. Martha, the consummate hostess, housekeeper, cook, and, even, servant of Jesus. Martha, who was probably internally calculating how long until the guests needed more food, more drink, created more dishes, and her spotless house was undone. Perhaps the thought of all the upcoming needs, the tyranny of the urgent, motivated her griping to Jesus about her sister’s choice not to work work work work work.
Yet Jesus commended Mary for her eagerness to sit with Him. Not Martha, for her ability to hold everything together and “get things done”. Anything Martha would accomplish during the few hours of Jesus’ visit would later be undone, consumed, taken away. Rather, Jesus contrasted the permanence of Mary’s choice with the transience of Martha’s. No matter what happened in the next ten minutes or ten days or ten years, Mary’s choice to saturate her heart and life with Jesus’ words would still be with her. Nothing could take that away from her. It would never be undone.
And so it is with us. In a world of urgency, messiness, demands for our attention – when there’s always something else that needs to be attended to – we, like Mary and Martha, have a choice. Do we seek first the kingdom of God, prioritizing Jesus’ words and work in our lives, trusting in His promise of their eternal value? This choice alone will not be taken away from us. It will never be undone.
As I had predicted, my household quickly spiraled that morning into a giant pile of dishes, toys, hunger cries, newly created laundry, and an emptier-than-before fridge. Peace and order and cleanliness were taken away from me and replaced with more that needed to be done. But my few brief moments spent in God’s word, in prayer, in fellowship with the One Who is our Life, would never be taken away from me. Those moments with Jesus could never be undone.