The One-Minute Manager
In Search of Excellence
Dale Carnegie, John Maxwell, Jim Collins, Stephen Covey, Peter Drucker and many others over the years I have been in business have preached the gospel of time management, efficiency, maximizing productivity and achieving more. All good authors with good principles. I bet Martha read their books too.
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her. Luke 10:38-41
Martha was doing stuff – good stuff – necessary stuff – “if I don’t do it, who will” kinda stuff. She probably had the spiritual gift of service and helps. Not only that, but she was quite vocal about her feelings of discontent. She basically got her knickers in a twist about having to “do all the work” while sis sat around “just” worshipping and listening. She not only felt like she got the short end of this straw, she wanted Jesus to know about it.
What did she expect Jesus to do about it anyway? Was he going to say, “Hey, you’re right – Mary, get up off your lazy keester and go help your poor sister”, or was she looking for a little “Oh poor Martha, you are working so hard and we sooooooo appreciate you. You are wonderful to do all that you do, we love you so much. Why don’t we just stop here, give Martha a standing ovation and all of us go pitch in to help her?”
Martha – like most of us highly motivated, energizer-type folks who want to get more stuff done, more efficiently – was a gifted and valuable person. Her gifting and talents were critical and much appreciated. She did, however, overlook the “main” thing according to Jesus. The key words that Jesus uses in describing her situation are “distracted by much serving”, “anxious” and “troubled”. She had simply gotten her eyes/heart off of the Master and on to her role/mission/service…and that had taken away her peace and joy in exercising her gifts.
As I ponder those same terms in relation to my own service of the King, I have to ask whether I am overlooking the “main thing”. Am I worshipping and serving my King, or am I really worshipping and serving my service? How is my motive? Am I willing to slow down long enough, or stop altogether to simply sit at His feet and enjoy Him?
It is so easy to get caught up in productivity, efficiency and time management, that we forget what is most important in life, work, marriage, family and ministry…………Him. He is the main thing, not what I am doing for Him or on His behalf. I need to choose to draw near to Him, sit at His feet and hear what He is saying – more than any other thing. What about you? Is it time to slow down and let the main thing be the main thing?