Addicted to Order
Luke 10:41 Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.
Admittedly, there are defects of which I know little. Though I have many flaws, being overly organized is not one of them. So, I had to stretch a little to come up with some way in which I could identify with Martha in today’s story. I did come up with one example.
I hate the drive-through. Or at least I hate going through it with a car full of people. I have a need to know everyone’s order, including drink and condiments, prior to pulling up to the speaker box. When it is my turn to answer the garbled voice and everyone changes their order at the last second, I lose it. I have reacted poorly to my family in my need for order. In the drive-through at least, I require order.
I think this is as close I am going to get to identifying with Martha. In today’s story, Martha had invited Jesus into her home and thus, she felt compelled to play the good hostess. She was distracted with much serving (v. 40). The table does not set itself and food does not magically appear. Someone had to do it, so Martha took it upon herself to do what needed to be done.
While Martha slaved away in the kitchen, peeling potatoes, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching (v. 39). She just sat there. Listening. Doing nothing. Martha’s anger, bitterness and resentment boiled over like her potatoes. Finally, she had enough. She demanded that Jesus correct lazy Mary.
Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me (v. 40). Jesus’ response is one that I would do well to repeat over and over when I become distracted and irritated by the world. You are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary (vv. 41, 42).
Martha thought Mary to be in the wrong as she was not consumed with duty, order and preparation. Those things are not evil in themselves of course. Martha’s defect was her addiction to order and her propensity to put it before Christ. Even good things become evil when we place them above God.
Mary however, chose to sit at Jesus feet and soak in all that He was. She chose the good portion, which will not be taken away from her (v.42). Martha completely missed Jesus in her need to organize while Mary let go of that which truly did not matter.
We often choose to be Martha. In church and in life, we get so distracted by details that we miss out on the one thing that is necessary. We obsess about the particulars of worship, work and bills while we miss out on Christ.
Order is not evil, but when my need for it drives me to yell at my kids in the drive-through, it has become a destructive addiction that I put before Christ. As in all things, I need to continually abandon my own defects and keep my eyes on God.
The Seeds of the Spirit is a daily blog based on a walk through the New Testament. Written from the perspective of my own addiction, it explores the common defects of our flesh nature and the solution, our spirit life. If you find it helpful, sign up for the blog as a daily email, tell your friends and like/share it on Facebook.