Revd Mat Ineson, Vicar at St Mary's Stoke Bishop, explores what it means to stop being busy in church.
I am an activist. So the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10 is a particular challenge to me. Jesus visits Mary and Martha. Martha busily prepares food for Jesus whilst Mary sits at his feet. Martha gets cross with Mary for not helping, but Jesus says that Mary is chosen the better thing. The easy lesson from this story might be that to be busy is bad. But that isnt what Jesus says. Indeed, Jesus was often so busy that he needed to escape to recover. One time he even fell asleep in the bottom of a small boat in a storm!
Luke 10 actually says that Mary was distracted by her many tasks. Distraction from Jesus is the issue. Jesus calls her to the one thing that matters; to look look to him as Mary is doing.
I need to remember that same one thing. There often seems to be an urgency for action, even in the church. A good desire to see God at work and to make a difference for God. However this is God's work. We are invited to join in through prayer, in his strength not ours.
When do we sit at Jesus feet in prayer and receive from him? In the end what we do from Jesus is more important that what we do for Jesus.
It is said that if we want to make God laugh tell him your plans. Perhaps if we want to make God smile we need to sit, listen and receive at Jesus feet. Then rise and serve him in his power and strength.