|to the immediate things because we have forgotten the ultimate.|
This does not mean that the urgent things are not important because they are. In fact, these urgent things often are identified as crisis
that must be attended to, much like a fire. The problem is we sometimes make things urgent because we think it is of high urgency to
That is what happened to Martha. I’m sure she thought that the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords in all his majesty and glory desired
to be treated like royalty and served an elegant meal fit for a king. The pressure to flawlessly perform that awesome task was intense.
In her mind, everything had to be perfect, from the table setting to the fluffiness of the bread. After all, that’s what He deserved – that’
s what he desired!
“Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things,” Jesus said. She must have thought, “Well isn’t that what you
want? You are the king of glory! You are the bright and morning star. You are the “rose of Sharon. How dare I belittle your coming to
dine with me in my home?”
Now that’s exactly where I, and so many of us, have gotten caught up. We say, “I’m doing the Lord’s work. I’m serving for Jesus. I’
m on the battlefield for my Lord and I promised Him that I would serve him till I die…”
The key thing we learn from this passage is, Jesus desires for us to do the most important thing by investing in our relationship with
Him and sitting at His feet so that we can hear and know His heart. He said, “But one thing is needed (Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and heard
His word vs39), and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
It’s interesting that he said what Mary chose would “not be taken away from her.” What a powerful statement! I interpret that to mean,
when I invest in my relationship with Jesus the Christ (the Messiah, the alpha and omega, the omnipresent and omniscient creator of
all), the payback and dividends will last for eternity and no one can take that away from me. In fact, He said in Luke 21:33 that “Heaven
and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” So when I do the important thing and sit at his feet and hear his
words, they will outlive Heaven and earth.”
That makes for an easy choice huh?
Easier said than done!
We’ll talk about the disciplines required to remain at Jesus’ feet in just a bit, but here are a few more observations about the Steven
Covey’s time management matrix above.
The matrix shows that half if not more of our time should be spent focusing on the important things, as Mary wisely chose. Focusing
on the important things has several benefits:
|Fewer things become urgent|
|We live a more balanced life|
|Our relationships thrive|
|We leave a legacy that lasts|
|We gain the respect of those around us|
|Peace is the umpire of our soul – inward and outward|
The other area where we tend to consume time is on the Urgent but Not Important things – Quadrant 3. These are the things that are
|important to others. Notice that the number there is relatively high at 30%. I think that is realistic but not necessarily ideal. |
These are the things that we need to delegate to others. One unhealthy tendency of leaders is to take on the tasks of
others. A clear mission, goals, and work direction can help others identify their range of influence and give them the
freedom and confidence to perform well in that area. That helps maintain peace and forward progress within an
Quadrant 4 is a place where we sometimes get caught up but is really unhealthy for a productive team. There is nothing of worth or
value in Quadrant 4. Things in this quadrant include gossip, idle chatter, and other things that break our focus. 1 Timothy 6:3-5 says,
“If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine
which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which
come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that
godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.”
I think that’s pretty clear!
Tips from Mary and Martha that help us remain at Jesus’ feet?
- Recognize when Jesus is near and seize the moment (Luke 10:38) – Create an atmosphere that ushers in His presence
- Welcome Jesus into your home and heart (Luke 10:38) – Acknowledge that he is all and his desire is to dwell with you as El
Shaddai, the all sufficient one.
- Introduce Jesus to others (Luke 10:39) – Relationships are the basis of life and communication is the basis of all relationship. In
order to remain close to Jesus, surround yourself with others who have the same desire.
- Don’t worry about what others do (Luke 10:40) – the only person I can control is myself. Trying to control others only leads to
frustration (just ask Martha).
- Don’t worry about things – keep life simple (Luke 10:41) Matt 6:25 – 34 speaks to this so clearly. Verse 34 concludes this
passage by saying, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the
day is its own trouble.”
- Focus on things that are eternal (Luke 10:42) – As the song says, “Hold to his hand, God’s unchanging hand. Build your hopes
on things eternal. Hold to God’s unchanging hand.”
2. Divided focus - A lack of a clear vision / mission (…more to come!)
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