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  • Writer's pictureWill Johns

Worried and Troubled

What worry loop has been playing in your mind these days? I have been worried about a couple of things lately that just keep looping through my mind. It is like a record with a scratch on it that loops over and over on the same groove. It is exhausting. There is certainly no end of things to worry about these days. Worry and trouble are in the air. And if we are not careful, they can consume our thoughts and fill our hearts with fear. Sometimes it may feel like nothing can be done about it. How can I stop worrying when the thing I'm worried about hasn't resolved yet?

The answer to this question is found in Luke 10:38-42. "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 troubled about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I'm so impressed by Mary in this story. She sits at Jesus' feet even when she knows she will get criticized by her anxious sister. She recognizes that she is in the presence of greatness, of wisdom, of love. She knows that nothing is more important than being in the presence of Jesus. And she chooses what it is better. But I'm so glad that Martha comes along and tries to get Jesus to make Mary help her with all the meal preparations. I can relate to Martha. If I am busy doing work and I feel like other people are just sitting around enjoying themselves, I can feel resentment towards them. I may even pray, "Lord, tell them to help me!" And so if Martha wasn't in this story, we wouldn't have learned from Jesus the priorities of the kingdom. We wouldn't have learned what to do when we are worried and troubled by many things.

Jesus replied to Martha's demand with these words, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” What a clear teaching about the priorities of the Kingdom of God. Martha was doing good work. She was preparing food for her guests. She was serving others. But Mary was doing what is better--sitting in the presence of Jesus. Martha was worried and troubled by many things. Mary was focused on the only thing that is truly needed. Mary demonstrates the spiritual solution to all of our worries and troubles. We bring them into the presence of Jesus and then realize that they aren't nearly as important as we thought they were. Our worries and troubles feel overwhelming. We feel like they must be solved this instant! But if we choose to focus on the one thing that really matters, somehow things just work out.

I would invite you to sit in the presence of Jesus this week. Listen for that still, small voice to speak to your soul. You may find that in the presence of God, your worries and troubles just fall away. When you focus on Jesus, your heart will feel hope and joy. You will find a peace that is beyond your circumstances. A peace that stays constant, even as your feelings go up and down. Somehow, everything looks different in the presence of Jesus.

May you focus on the only thing that is needed this week.

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