marla, marla

A few years ago, I changed Luke 10:41-42 in my Bible to read, “Marla, Marla,” instead of “Martha, Martha.” Sadly, it still holds true today.

“Marla, Marla,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better…”

My Bible study homework today was on that passage. (Are you trying to tell me something, God?) So familiar, yet so convicting. Luke 10:40 says, “But Martha (Marla) was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.”

The Greek word for distracted is perispao, meaning, “to draw different ways at the same time, hence to distract with cares and responsibilities.”

And the Greek for preparation? Diakonia, meaning, “service, attendance, ministry.”
Basically, all these things I’m doing are swell. Ministry-related even. Helping all manner of people. Yet still distracting from an intimate, abiding (sitting, staying, remaining, being. That’s not Greek, just off the top of my head.) relationship with Christ.

I’m loving Hope Lives. From page 29, “I’ve managed to create just the right combination, a one-two punch, to keep my love [for the poor] stifled: individualism coupled with busyness.” Me too.

And then she blasted me (bless her heart): “‘Busy’ is our banner. And I think we’re proud of it.” Ouch. (There’s so much more. You need this book.)

Kristin asked for some brave people to admit some hard things on her blog today. And I have to admit that busy is my banner. Activity and movement and information and achievements and blog comments and (positive) book reviews and blah, blah, blah are what drive me most of the time. Do, do, do, do! Busy, busy, busy, busy! I’m exhausted, and it feels exhilarating (in a weird, twisted sort of way).

As much as I’d like to think otherwise, my life is an awful lot about me.

As much as I hate to admit it, I don’t live like I believe Jesus’ words to Mary: “Only one thing is needed.”

Lord, help me believe. Help me cling to you alone. Everything else is distraction. But I’m addicted to it. Only Your Holy Spirit can break me of my habit. And sadly, I don’t even really want to quit. Please help me.

14 thoughts on “marla, marla

  1. ladymiss3739

    I have the same book Terri talked about Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World…haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.  Ironic and shameful, for sure…

    Thanks for what you shared, I definitely needed my toes stepped on on this one, too…

  2. ClutzyButtercup

    I’m feeling your pain, conviction, frustration, etc…There is always one more “good” thing to be involved in.  I know God will show you how to do what He has for you to do and be able to remove the banner of “busy”!

  3. terriwright

    But, you know…(I’ve been pondering this!)….it’s so much EASIER to do the right-here things that we can see and feel and be in control of. THAT’S why we are the way we are. Better for me that I be busy taking someone to the dr, or, like Shannah, fixing dinners for couples in need……

  4. shannahhogue

    I have my own opinions of this passage, but I do think we are often a little harder on Martha than Jesus actually was.

    And we all need to be less busy…or busy in a less-distracted way…

  5. terriwright

    Great post. Guilty. I read a fantastic book: Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. (I can’t figure out how to do italics here….) It SO spoke to me, since I always have this urge to defend Martha to Jesus(can you imagine the chutzpah???!!!).

    This is living in the world and falling into the trap of being a part of it. I find it takes constant vigilance. We’re so Calvinist.

  6. tonialynn59

    Yes, I must admit the same thing.  Over the past 4-5 years God has really been stripping me of pride and it’s not a fun process AT ALL!!  Breaking Free was using mainly Isa.  I loved it and decided to read through it on my own.  I’m still only on chapter 30 something and have been at it awhile.  The theme I’m picking up on for ME is pride!  Mike and I talk about this often.  He said to me the other day “Pride?  There’s very little left!”

  7. Marketer319

    That definitely counts as an “I Admit” entry and it’s a lot harder to admit than my Mike&Ike’s.   I’ve often questioned what Martha’s big sin was, because I identify so much with her.  It’s hard to see that within yourself and acknowlege it as needing to change.  Congrats on being so open. 

  8. KmHunsberger

    I fall into this exact same pit of toned down pride and selfishness. I love to feel encouraged by people…to hear praise…to be sought after…to feel worth something…to achieve something…anything really. It is pitifully sad that my relationship with Christ falls into a category of my life that I try to claim any amount of praise or admiration or esteem from. I am with you my friend. I am with you.

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