Recognizing the Priority of the Moment
Sunday I preached about Mary and Martha. If the story I’m talking about doesn’t immediately jumped to mind, here is the quick skinny. Jesus visits a home with two sisters. One sister, Mary, sits and listens as he is teaching. The other, Martha, gets perturbed that Mary is sitting about while she must do all the work. Martha wants Jesus to reprimand Mary. Instead, he tells Martha that she is “worried and upset by many things” while Mary has chosen the one and better thing.
At first pass, this story is perplexing to me. Isn’t service at the very heart of Christianity? So, isn’t Martha behaving in an exemplary manner? Why the reprimand? Notice Jesus’s response. Jesus isn’t calling Martha out specifically for her service. He’s not saying that what she is working on bad. His focus is on the fact that she is living in a distracted and worrisome state at the cost of seeing what’s most valuable in the moment. That condition probably describes the life of a shockingly large number of people, including me — “living in a distracted and worrisome state at the cost of seeing what’s most valuable in the moment.”
One of the gifts of yoga is that it teaches you to be present to what’s happening here and now. For me that presence of mind is critical to avoiding getting lost in Martha’s landscape of being worried and upset by many things.
When you get lost in distraction, even when something on the surface appears to be service, you may not be serving the Lord. Getting sucked into serving other people’s expectations or your old patterns isn’t serving God.
So how are you to know what the one better thing is? Slow done. Breath. Step out of hurry and scurry mode. Go to your mat if necessary. And, ask yourself, “What serves God in this moment?”
May be you are already doing that “one thing”, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still learn from Martha. Are you doing that one thing with thanksgiving and joy? If not, if your heart like Martha’s is getting burdened, jealous, or feeling resentful, you’re still not serving the Lord. Pause and see if you cannot chose an different intention and attitude. Adopt the mindset of “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” Colossians 3:23. Peace will soon follow.
Blessings as you seek to find stillness on your mat so that you can let go of being distracted by many things.