On our recent trip to Israel, after spending time in the region of Galilee and then arriving in Jerusalem, I commented on social media:
“After spending a full day experiencing the craziness of Jerusalem, I can certainly see why Jesus spent most of His time in the relatively peaceful region of Galilee.”
I certainly meant no disrespect. Because I am a Christian (so there is no room to look down on anyone) and because my theology causes me to believe that God still has some special plans for the people of Israel, I love the people of that country.
But, my point was to draw attention to the fact that our Savior spent much of His time away from the hustle and bustle of the large city. Instead, while He certainly spent much time with people, He also spent much time alone with His Father.
Mark 1:35 (NLT) “Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.”
Mark 6:46 (NLT) “After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.”
Even when He was in Jerusalem, He made it a point to get away to the Garden of Gethsemane often to be alone … and pray.
Luke 22:39-41 (NLT) “Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. There he told them, ‘Pray that you will not give in to temptation.’ He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed,”
These are just a few illustrations that show a pattern. While it is true that Jesus was busy during His ministry in Judea and Galilee, it is also equally true that He spent much time in seclusion with His Father.
He wasn’t just a “human doing.” He was a “human being.” His identity wasn’t tied up solely in what He did. His soul was nourished as He spent much time alone with His Father.
This is the lesson we see in a Bible story I read this morning. In Luke 10:38-42, we see two women and their interactions with Jesus.
Both of them were dear friends of His. But, one was busy doing things for Him – and stressed. The other was simply being with Him – and at peace.
As you read this brief story, carefully observe how each woman behaved around Jesus. Then listen as Jesus shows which behavior was more desirable.
Luke 10:38–42 (NLT) “As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.’ But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.'”
What Martha was doing wasn’t wrong. The folks in that house would have been getting hungry and a meal would satisfy that hunger. Someone needed to cook the meal.
But, Martha was cooking the meal at the expense of spending time with Jesus. She was doing things for Him rather than doing things with Him.
Mary, on the other hand, wasn’t being lazy. She simply chose to spend some time listening to and being with Jesus rather than being busy doing things for Him. She understood Jesus’ words when He quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 during the time of His temptation:
Matthew 4:4 “… ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
The lesson is clear. Jesus showed us in His life that we must be busy. We have only one life to live and we have been given only a limited amount of time to lay up treasures in Heaven.
Even in the story of Luke 10:38-42, we realize that someone needed to cook the meal. That requires work. There are certainly times when we must be busy.
Yet, we realize from Jesus’ example and the story of Mary and Martha that our life shouldn’t be tied up in busyness. We shouldn’t fret and worry about stuff to do. We aren’t human doings. In fact, we will harm our health, our mental health, our relationships, and so much more if we stay busy all the time.
Instead, we should cut out sections of time in our schedule to spend time alone with Him in Bible intake and prayer … and just being in His presence. It is in those quiet times that our heart can be at rest, enabling us to enjoy Him. The goal would be to keep our hearts and minds centered on Him so that when life gets busy and hectic, we can still enjoy the quietness of communing with Jesus in our innermost being.
Don’t be a human doing. Be a human being.