“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about so many things…” (Luke 10:41). These words were spoken by Jesus to the lady of the house he was visiting when she complained that her sister wasn’t pulling her weight in preparing for the meal.
But if there is a better description of modern life, I don’t know what it is. Even in our leisure time we watch “Picture-in-picture” TVs so that we can watch multiple ball games at the same time. And for those of us who don’t’ have that capability, market studies indicate that 75% of us watch at least two different TV programs at the same time by flipping back and forth between channels.
This just goes to show that we are a restless society who is obsessed with too many things. And certainly we are anxious about those things. And that anxiety is killing us.
About 35 million Americans are thought to have hypertension today, though about half don’t even know it. Stress is frequently found as the major cause for respiratory infections, arthritis, colitis, asthma, uneven heart rhythms, circulatory problems, and even cancer. The doctors of the American Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine believe that 75 to 90 percent of all reported diseases are due in part to stress. And indeed, the most common drugs on the market today are for anxiety, high-blood pressure, and ulcers. We are anxious and troubled about many, many things.
But Jesus gives this word of advice to Martha: “Only one thing is needful.”
Many books have been written on the secrets of success. I think this is the most important secret for a successful life that anyone can give. Make sure your priorities are in order.” We all need to determine those things in our life that are really and truly important to us and take care of those things first.
One priority that Martha’s sister, Mary found, was to spend some time soaking up the teachings of Jesus. While Martha was hustling about with the busyness of life, Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus absorbing his words and love.
I think we can learn something from Mary. Most of us are anxious and troubled about too many things, and we need to get our priorities in order. The best way we can do that is by setting aside some time each day, relax, sit at the feet of the master, and just enjoy his presence and be free.
What are you doing to shed your anxiety?
Tim Hobbs, Pastor