By Dot Bowen
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Matthew 13:1 (ESV)
When my grandchildren are disobedient, their parents put them in time out! I hate to hear them cry, but I recognize what they really need is to just sit for a minute. When they regain their composure, all will be well and they can get back to their toys. I have days when I need to put myself in time out, and there’s no time of year when I need time out more than Christmas. Christmas is my favorite time of year—and my busiest time of the year—and some days I just need to put myself in time out!
We read in the Gospels that Jesus frequently went away to pray. How did He find the time to get away and pray? Jesus healed people, raised people from the dead, and caused a movement that affected the entire world. How did he have time to rest and pray? To be honest, we can’t afford not to take time to pray! I have found prayer is the greatest time saving tool. Even though I believe this, I find myself struggling to be still before God with a quiet heart and my eyes on Him. Why do we worry about getting everything done and making the most of the moment, yet Jesus never skipped time in prayer because of a time crunch or an appointment on His calendar?
Not only did Jesus model the importance of prayer, He told us what He considered most important in the story of Mary and Martha. These sisters seem to struggle with the very issues we struggle with today. Like us, they wanted to serve their guests—the Son of God and His twelve closest friends—and make them feel right at home. So Martha busied herself in preparing for the guests while Martha took a break and sat with Jesus. In my humble opinion, Martha gets a bad rap because she wanted everything to be special for Jesus. And Jesus deserved the best. You can read their story in Luke 10:38-42. Martha was so stressed out she actually told Jesus what to do! Now that’s a great example of what stress while serving others can do.
To really enjoy and serve the people you love most, you need to just sit! I’ve discovered one of the greatest ways to serve Jesus and His children is to acknowledge their presence, give them my attention, and allow the quietness of being with them to be my greatest joy. My goal is not to make anyone feel guilty for being busy or doing for others. However, I don’t want to settle for what others consider “good.” I want what Jesus says is best for me. In Luke 10:42 Jesus us, “Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Jesus isn’t saying it’s wrong to accomplish tasks, but He is pointing out that our to-do’s will never all be accomplished. As each of us knows, there will always be more for us to do.
But what we gain when we sit for a few minutes at the feet of Jesus will forever be with us. Christmas will come. Christmas will go. Your children will come. Your children will go. Nothing stays the same. What’s important to you today may not be so important tomorrow. But Jesus will always be with us. We know that because Mary was told she would give birth to Immanuel, “God with us.”
I really want to encourage you find a quiet place and put yourself in time out. Grab a cup of coffee and just sit with Jesus. You might even open your Bible to the Gospels and read about our Jesus. After you read about Him, talk to Him. And you just may hear a small voice in your heart saying, “Thanks for sitting with Me; you have chosen the better thing.” Consider the opportunity to sit and communicate with Jesus your early Christmas present. So put yourself in time out!
Further Reading Luke 10:38-42; Luke 11:1