Idolatry: Who Gets Your Time ?
By Kevin Probst
Jesus was invited to a gathering at Mary and Martha's house. Martha was slaving away in the kitchen to prepare a meal for her guests. Her sister Mary was in the living room sitting at the feet of Jesus as he taught. Martha was fuming because her sister wasn't in the kitchen helping. She finally boiled over. She stomped into the living room and briefly explained her grievance to Jesus. "Lord, Don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" (Luke 10:38-42)
I think there was a moment of silence that must certainly have felt like an eternity to Martha. Eyes widened, jaws dropped and finally Jesus spoke, "Martha, Martha, 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 form her."
One could feel irritated that Jesus chose to reprimand the hard worker while seemingly rewarding the slacker. It rubs us the wrong way because it goes against everything our culture teaches us. Martha was in a hurry, Mary was not. Jesus is teaching us that there is a virtue in waiting. He wants us to separate from the rat race and find quiet moments to learn and listen.
Busyness is so much a part of our culture that we tend to define ourselves by what we do rather than who we are. The first question we often ask when we meet someone is, "What do you do?" This question serves to depersonalize the relationship. Why must we determine a man's value by what he does? Isn't a man's importance determined more by who he is rather than what he does?
There is another account in Jesus' life. A high level government official came running to Jesus and fell at his feet and with tearful eyes he plead with Jesus to save his dying twelve year old daughter. Jesus lifted him to his feet and began following him.
As Jesus continues through the crowd he suddenly stops and asks a mysterious question, "Who touched me?" He disciples were dumbfounded. "Why, Lord, we are being pressed about by the crowd from every side and you ask 'who touched me?'"
Jesus replied, "If feel power has gone out of me."
Slowly, a woman emerges from the crowd. "I touched you," she said. "But I have been completely healed." Jesus acknowledged her and sent her on her way "in peace."
What is Jairus doing during all this? He is chomping at the bit. His daughter lies dying and Jesus presses the pause button in his life to deal with a woman who had been already healed. "Hurry, hurry, Jesus! My daughter lies dying."
Jesus never got in a hurry. He never bowed to the idol of busyness. He refused to live in a superficial way, rather, he chose to live in the reality of the moment. It's how he wants us to live.
Our lives are so hectic many of us live with chronic fatigue. Sunset fatigue is a term used to refer to the fact that many of us return overwrought from our jobs at sunset. Ironically, the people in our lives whom we love the most, those we claim we would die for only get our leftovers.
When I was younger I taught history in a local high school. I also coached football, basketball and baseball. I would leave my home at 7:00 AM and not return until 9:00 PM. I had two small children who seldom saw their father when they probably needed him most. I would do anything in the world to change that. We can make amends, sometimes we're given second chances but we can never, ever go back! You can't place a value on time spent with those you love.
Christ never failed to take time for people. I'm still trying to learn that lesson. The people in our lives are far more important than shuffling the paper in our lives.
“Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back.” - Harvey MacKay
Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.