Sit or Serve?

By Dot Bowen

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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!” Luke 10:40 (NIV)


I struggle daily with balancing what I have to do with what I should It is difficult to choose between the urgent and best. You might think urgent tasks and the best tasks would be the same, but often they are not. If only God gave us a daily schedule to follow!

Mary, Martha and Lazarus were siblings and lived in Bethany, a city near Jerusalem. Jesus dearly loved them and frequently stopped by their home when He traveled, oftentimes with his disciples. Just imagine hosting Jesus and His disciples in your own home! Martha—the “do-er”—was in the kitchen getting everything ready while Mary was found sitting with and enjoying Jesus. I’m not exactly sure what Martha was thinking, but based on what she said to Jesus, I venture to say she was frustrated! After one trip too many to the kitchen, Martha blurted out a question she likely later regretted. She asked Jesus, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” Martha’s words reflected the urgent rather than the best.

Several years ago, my view of prayer was challenged and caused me to wrestle with what I really believe about prayer. Do I truly believe I am entering into the presence of God when I pray? If so, shouldn’t it be more difficult to stop praying and leave His presence than struggling to slow down and spend time with Him?

Without taking time to be with Jesus, serving Him will only bring frustration. If you find yourself questioning Jesus and upset others aren’t helping you, maybe it’s time to slow down, sit at His feet, and pray. Prayer is a gift we’ve been given through the blood of Jesus that give us the opportunity to share all of our concerns and frustrations with Him. But more importantly, prayer allows us to enjoy His presence—whether we are busy serving or sitting!

Slow down and “sip” on the following thoughts and questions throughout the week and spend some time in prayer.

  • Have you ever wished God would take control of your to-do list?
  • Have you ever had a “Martha moment” and felt overworked and underappreciated? Be honest!
  • Imagine Jesus sitting in your kitchen and you are so busy cooking that you fail to speak to Him.
  • I’ve noticed when I’m overwhelmed I find myself not only telling others what to do, but also telling God what to do! As if God needs my instructions!
  • Have you ever been so busy the last person you feel you can talk to or have time for is Jesus?
  • Read Luke 10:38-42. Maybe we can learn a few things from Jesus’ friends, Martha and Mary?
    • Jesus immediately responded to Martha. Do you think He had to call her name twice to get her to slow down and pay attention to Him?
    • Jesus didn’t tell Martha to stop serving Him, but He didn’t want her to worry about making everything perfect instead of enjoying time with Him.
    • Jesus was concerned for Martha, not about being served.

Further Reading Luke 10:38-42

The SipMindy Fletcher