Tuesday, January 11, 2011

To Do List

What is the first priority on your to do list? Listening to God through His Word? Allowing others to hear God's Word?

“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” ” (Luke 10:38–42, NKJV)

I love “to do lists” whether formal or informal. At various points during the day I may jot down three or four things that I need to get done just on a piece of scrap paper and cross them off as I complete the task. But I also use formal lists as well including the “To Do” list that is included in Microsoft Outlook. Recently a friend of mine introduced me to an online “to do” list called “Toodledo.” This program syncs with my smart phone and email. It sends me an electronic reminder of what I need to do on a daily basis. Well, I love “to do lists” because it helps me prioritize all the things I have to do and at least get some of the tasks done before the day expires.

This morning one of the Scripture selections I read was the account of Martha and Mary’s conflict over the priorities of life found in Luke 10. Evidently Martha had a lot to do. She had to fulfill her responsibilities as a host for the guests in her home. I can empathize with her frustration as she tried to get everything in order and realized that her sister Mary was from her view just sitting down on the job.

What Martha failed to do was prioritize her “to do list.” The household chores were important. Things needed to get done. However, like most of us, Martha would not be able to complete everything on her “to do list” even if her day was extended by a few hours. Instead she should have prioritized the things on her activity list. The top priority should have been listening to God’s Word.

As I was thinking through this text another thought occurred to me. What if Martha really had a hard deadline to fulfill? In other words what if she could not stop and listen to Jesus because the dinner would burn? Should she just leave the guests to themselves and let them go hungry? Perhaps another application for this story is that Martha may have had things to do that had to be done that were time sensitive. She could not stop what she was doing. However, her frustration seems to be that she wanted Mary to stop listening to Jesus and help her. If listening to God’s Word was a priority for Martha it may be that in her particular circumstance that she needed to work so that others can listen.

In our church community we have folks that take the time to serve in the nursery or during children’s church or behind the scenes in the sound room so that others can listen to God’s Word.

This attitude of service may need to extend to other situations from our household to our work place. Listening to God’s Word is a priority.

Sometimes making listening to God's Word a priority is fulfilled by serving so that others may worship.

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