Last week I wrote about The Story of the Jar. I won’t repeat the story, but please click the link if you’re not familiar with this metaphor.
As I’ve discussed this demonstration with various groups, I’m always struck by the variety of lessons that emerge. Today I’d like to think about the finite capacity of the jar.
Our culture tells us to keep cramming more stuff into our jars. We work longer hours, then bring work home. Technology keeps us constantly connected, eliminating quiet moments in the car, in restaurants, even in the restroom! We strive for greater efficiency, believing that we can always find another small cranny and jam another task into it.
I like to imagine Jesus’ journey through life. He walked from place to place, spending long hours in conversation with His friends or in quiet contemplation. Evenings weren’t consumed with mindless television, leaving time for relaxed conversation. This man held the secrets of the universe and the keys to God’s kingdom, but He wasn’t too busy to listen to people. He knew that people came to Him one at a time, and He valued His interactions with each individual.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “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 away from her.” Luke 10: 38-41
I don’t think Jesus meant to belittle Martha’s efforts to offer hospitality. He didn’t instruct her to halt her preparations, but instead to put them in proper perspective. Rather than fussing about getting everything accomplished, He asked her to relax and slow down. He knew that the world’s concerns would be addressed. What was “needed” was to sit at His feet and listen to His words.
Jesus speaks to us across twenty centuries. Slow down. Take time first to listen to His words. Stop worrying about jamming something into every space in the jar.
Question: What’s something you can stop being upset and worried about that would give you a few relaxed minutes at Jesus’ feet?