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The Power (and Problem) of Priorities

September 21, 2021

The Power (and Problem) of Priorities

The Power (and Problem) of Priorities

A Lesson from Martha

By Wendy Berghane, Hearts Alive Curriculum Specialist

‘“Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered. ‘You are worried and upset about many things. But few things are needed. Really, only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better. And it will not be taken away from her.’” - Luke 10:41-42, NIRV

Ugh. This story out of Luke is so tough. And I always wonder what was going through Martha’s mind. Was she thinking, “Well, if I don’t (fill in the blank), then it will never get done!”, exasperated that her sister got to be “lazy” and sit with Jesus? Was she being an over-achiever and so singularly focused that she didn’t even think about Jesus being in the house? Was she anxious that Jesus would think her house was awful, or even worse, she was awful if he saw their mess? Or perhaps Martha felt this was the way to show Jesus that she was worthy of love—through her hard work and good deeds.

I don’t know if we will ever truly know the reason Martha chose dishes over sitting with Jesus.

But I do think we all have had Martha moments when we are blinded by things that in the big picture aren’t very significant, only to miss out on beautiful moments with people or with God.

So many things grab our attention, our time, and our energy. We all have long to-do lists, inboxes filled with important work emails, and family schedules to keep up with. Completing tasks, working hard, and being industrious is not a bad thing. We need to tackle the everyday tasks and yes, even clean the dishes! The problem comes when those things take priority over our relationships—our relationships with others and more importantly our relationship with God. When we don’t have time for a morning devotional, or we leave the dinner table to attend to a work email or phone call, or we begin our day swirling with frustration because someone left dishes in the sink, that’s when Jesus is challenging us to check our priorities. Are those things really where your heart and mind should be focused in this moment? Are those things reflecting who and what is really important? He is not saying “don’t do the dishes” or “don’t go to the gym” or “don’t attend to work needs.”

I believe what Jesus is saying to us is that we shouldn’t make those things more important than making time for him or the people he has surrounded us with right now.

Because when you do prioritize the tasks, you can miss out on some beautiful moments and blessings.

So, what is God laying on your heart today? In what areas of life are you a Martha? Begin by asking God where you need to make some adjustments so you can be more present each day. And be open to his answer.  Getting our priorities in line takes practice, and we will stumble. But as with all of God’s promises, when we make him first in our lives, we will be blessed beyond measure.


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Hearts Alive

Hearts Alive Sunday School and Children's Church provide liturgical congregations a highly-anticipated children’s curriculum that combines captivating content, lectionary alignment, and Gospel focus for children ages 3-12. For those seeking to engage children in a fun, age-appropriate application to the Revised Common Lectionary, Hearts Alive is a three-year course of study to give children a strong overview of the story of salvation and how it ties to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Hearts Alive supports and elevates liturgical traditions and the church calendar while using clear, contemporary learning techniques to present the Word of God. Learn more in our online community.

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