Monday, June 6, 2005

Is Your House Crowded?

And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.” (Luke 10:41)
You remember the story of Mary and Martha and the day Jesus came to their house. Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus as a disciple (which was a very brazen thing for that time and place).

Meanwhile, Martha was banging around the house, “distracted with much serving” (Luke 10:40). The Greek word for “distract” literally means to “drag all around.” Picture her with many implements of service, dragging them all about her house. She let herself become distracted from the glory of Jesus’ presence and become encumbered with other things.

Finally, Martha was upset enough that she went to Jesus and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me” (v. 40).

That’s when Jesus answered and said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.” To be worried means to be anxious about something, to focus attention on something with anxiety. Have you ever noticed that you cannot be worried about something without focusing your attention on it?

Not only was Martha anxiously focusing her attention on many things, but she was also “troubled.” The Greek word here, turbazo, literally means “crowded.” Martha was focused on so many things that she was filled with anxiety and her thoughts were crowded. No wonder she was overwhelmed.

All the while, the answer to her problem was sitting quietly before her, untroubled and at peace. Jesus was there in her midst. Mary had already tumbled onto the secret of quietness. Jesus said, “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (v. 42).

The house of Martha’s soul was crowded with many things; Mary chose the one thing that was needed. Martha was focused on the worry of many things; Mary was focused on the presence of Jesus.

Nine centuries earlier, David was surrounded by enemies and foes. An army was encamped against him from without, and adversaries were breathing out threats and violence and false reports (that might have been from within his camp).

David could easily have let himself become overwhelmed, and perhaps for a time he was. But he did not let the house of his soul remain crowded. He sharpened his focus. “One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek” (Psalm 27:4).

In the midst of all this turmoil, what do you suppose was the one thing David desired?
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in His temple.
That was all he needed, all he wanted — to dwell in the house of the LORD and behold His beauty. All questions would be answered there. For the house of the LORD is spacious and bountiful, and not crowded at all.

Is your house crowded? Are you full of anxiety? It is because you are focused on many things, and only one thing is needed. If you will turn you attention to Jesus and dwell in His presence, you will be choosing the good portion, and it will not be taken from you — and the LORD your Shepherd will take care of you.