As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:38-42
Most of us have a structured routine when it comes to work. We have an established wardrobe, a usual breakfast and lunch, a regular time to get up, leave the house, and to return home. We take the same route to work, so we learn the traffic patterns. We stop at the same stores for a coffee or soda, so we see familiar people in those places. On the surface, this routine might appear boring and mundane. In truth, our routines provide us a level of comfort that we grow to rely upon. That is why we work hard to maintain our routines every day. Disrupt the routine of our mornings, and it often creates frustration and stress that can carry on throughout the day.
Having established that as a reality, I can imagine that for the people impacted by the shelter in place orders and the closure of school campuses, life has become a new adventure with our routines tossed out the window. The first few days might have been novel, but by now you’ve probably started to grow frustrated by the change to working at home. At work, you have the tools you need and the people in place to get things done. Now, you’re piecemealing it together with your spouse, children, pets, laundry, dirty dishes and that bathroom floor that needs to get mopped all vying for your attention.
At least you’re saving money on gasoline!
Working from home can be frustrating because there’s just so many things to get done. On one hand, you’re at home, so you should have time to get some of those things accomplished. But on the other hand, you’re at work, so you have many other things to do. But you’re not at work, so things that might have gone smoothly in your office or school take longer because you don’t have everything you need within arm’s length.
If I have just described your current situation, I would invite you to take a breath, pause for a moment and remember the story of Martha & Mary from Luke 10. You remember how Martha shared her frustrations with Jesus over her sister’s unwillingness to help her with the many chores that needed to be done. You also remember Jesus’s response to Martha, calmly reminding her of what was more important. “’Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’”
Martha’s work ethic isn’t a bad thing. Neither is yours. We take pride in the things we accomplish, and for those of us who are serving our children in Lutheran schools, we feel a greater level of importance because we share not only math and reading, but the love of Jesus. This adds pressure to make us feel as though we need to do more to accomplish our goals. Now, when we struggle with changing plans or failing technology or one of the dozens of other things that can go wrong we have all the more reason to throw our hands up in the air and cry out to Jesus for His help.
Of course, you do realize that His message to us will be the same thing He told Martha.
Fact of the matter is that while we do important work, God’s love will be shared with us our without us. His power, His glory, supersedes anything we could dream of doing. It’s important that we remember our role in this grand plan is not only to teach and serve, but to also learn and receive God’s grace and forgiveness.
May the Lord continue to give you peace as you accomplish great things in the lives of those people God has entrusted to your care.