As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10: 38-42
In this instance, Mary chose the teachings of Jesus, she chose to listen to what He had to say. In today's life stage, we can say that she chose her bible study, she chose her quiet time in prayer, she chose being attentive to hear what the Spirit says, she sought carefully to hear the Lord's teachings ~ His messages. Mary is one who wants to know what the Spirit is saying to the Church today and to her each day.
In contrast, Martha was distracted from hearing what the Lord had to say due too much activity. The literal translation from Greek translates literally as distracted/pulled about [with] much serving. Martha wanted to know if everyone had enough to eat, if the serviettes were well laid out, if the punch bowl was being refilled, if all the dirty dishes were cleared up and replaced immediately. Martha wasn't a bad woman, she was hard working, she wasn't lazy, she was just busy.
But service must never replace intimacy; service must never take the place of the presence of God in our lives; our bible study, our prayer time, waiting in fasting to hear God's voice - these are times of fellowship with God that must be protected. I heard Cindy Trimm say prayer is a discipline and I agree.
The Lord's response from the literal Greek translation was: Martha! Martha! You are being anxious and you are being turbid-ed [muddled/state of turmoil] about many things. He called her sharply and corrected her, teaching that in the grand scheme of things, Mary had chosen the one important thing which will not be wrestled away from her, the word the Lord used was translated wrested [forcibly pull something from someone's grasp]. We mustn't go running on empty - busy going up and down, running around but too busy to sit at the King's feet to learn, hear and receive direction & instruction.
When the storms of life come, the busy can not help me but the words of God which I learnt and the revelation which He's shown me - those can not be wrestled away from me by the enemy, they will be my anchor through the storms of life and navigation for safe passage.
Busy can involve so many things, it can be busy with work, or with family or with church activities; so busy that you haven't made time to talk to Him lately, so busy that you have not studied the word to hear what He is saying to you. So busy that you can not say: Excuse me kindly, but I have an audience with the King; Excuse me but I have an appointment with my Father and He would already be gazing out, waiting on me, I mustn't be late or keep Him waiting any longer than I already have.
I got a sense when we set out a 21 day period of waiting on the Lord in my local Church, that the Lord had been waiting and had penciled it out in His agenda expectantly. When we make appointments to keep with God, we are not the only ones with an expectation. My children have said they are coming at this time, so I am looking forward to having them, I am expecting them, I have laid out the table, brought out the best china and my choicest food, I am waiting... Like a Father peeping out at the horizon for you, he eagerly waits for you, to talk to you and hear your voice...
“In that day,” declares the Lord,“you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master. Hosea 2:16 Your husband is someone you are meant to be close to whilst your master is someone whom you serve but do not share any secrets or level of intimacy. The Lord is calling us to that higher level of relationship, of intimacy & purpose...
Devotion, whatever you do - let it be driven by your devotion to Me, don't get so busy that you don't make time for Me. I am passing by your house today, your city today, I have something to say to you, it would be a tragedy for Me to have come all this way but you were too busy in the kitchen to come out to say hello & hear what I have to say. I require intimacy... It's you that I am after - your heart not just your service...
“Let me never lose the all-important truth that to be in Thy will is better than success, and grant that I may ever love Thyself more than Thy service.” Howard Carter