August 14: Being Busy

Isaiah 29:1–30:17; Luke 10:1–42; Job 7:1–10

Sometimes it’s difficult to deal with quiet. For most people, chaos, deadlines, managing multiple schedules, and being “so busy” are a way of life. And if we’re honest with ourselves, we like it. Busyness implies we are special and valued and the work we’re doing is necessary. And we have a desperate need to be valued.

When others failed to recognize Martha’s work—when Mary didn’t hold to the same values—she complained to Jesus. He responded by rebuking her: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things! But few things are necessary, or only one thing, for Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41–42).

What is the “better part”? Mary “sat at the feet of Jesus and was listening to his teaching” (Luke 10:39), and Jesus praised her desire to listen and learn. Mary was captivated by the “one thing” that would change the world: Jesus and the kingdom He was ushering in. Jesus showed Martha that she should also give Him this reception—being willing to learn, not anxious about her busy schedule. He asked her to shift her perspective.

Choosing the “better part” doesn’t invalidate the things we’re busy with; indeed, Martha’s work served the needs of others. But the things we do shouldn’t shape our identity. The “one thing” that should shape our identity—the one thing we really need—is Jesus. Ultimately, it’s the desire to know Him and serve Him that should shape our lives. And whatever is not dedicated to that service is not among “the few things [that] are necessary.”

What things are you busy with? Why?

Rebecca Van Noord[1]


[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

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