In the last few weeks, I have been living in a new place and I’ve been trying to learn a new language. The experience has been interestingly baffling. I’ve been able to pick a few words that I need for everyday life, and one word I won’t forget so soon is ‘matar’, which means ‘wife’. Obviously, it is homophonically related to our topic, ‘Martha’ which is the name of a Bible character, but completely irrelevant in this discussion.
Sometimes around late 2012, I was working with a science institute when this word, “Martha,” came to me. Routinely, I had to wake up very early, get my lazy bones to the laboratory, run analysis from morning till evening, and drag my tired body back home. I got so preoccupied with these activities and many more that it began to tell on my relationship with God. My prayer time was abandoned, my weekends were busy with travelling from state to state in preparation for a concert.
Then, in the midst of the noisy world around me and the tightness of my schedule, God had mercy on me, and His still small voice echoed in my heart, “Martha, Martha”. I reached for my Bible, pen and paper, and began to write. It was a wake-up call to a more intimate devotion with the Master.
Jesus was a family friend to this family of Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Bible scholars suggest that Martha appears to be the oldest among and the three, and was probably a widow. Jesus paid the family a visit during which He took time to teach the Word. Mary and, probably, Lazarus, sat at His feet to partake in this divine manna being served by the Lord. Martha, on the other hand, was concerned with entertaining her guest. At a time, Martha got displeased that her sister wasn’t assisting her with the cooking, and sought the Lord’s support against her. Jesus rebuked her, not for trying to entertain him, but for misplacing her priority.
It is instructive for us observe that, most times, activities that engage us and keep us busy from having quality devotion with Lord are sometimes legitimate. They could involve necessary things like waking up early to prepare for school or work, going out to help the needy, providing community service, visiting the sick, or doing some other proper things. At other times, they are non-essentials like waking up early to watch the news, check social networks for new notifications, read texts, prepare breakfast, return missed calls, and so on, all at the expense of one’s morning devotion.
These activities may not be sinful in themselves, but where we get it all wrong is in ordering our priorities right. As believers, God should come FIRST in our lives with no rival, living or not. Though there may be no restriction or any hard and fast rule on when to communicate with God, you sure agree with me that the morning hour is the best. It is sign of reverence and honour to devote the earliest hours of the day to commune with our Lord.
In this recent times, I’ve been living among people who are religiously committed to prayer. Though they serve another god, I cannot help but learn from their prayer life. They pray at work, they pray at school, they pray at home, and oh my, they even stop to pray on transit when their prayer time meets them on the road. They have become so addicted to their prayer time that they would not miss it for anything. Their prayer life is on a record I am still striving to beat.
Fellow Christian, take this as a wake-up call from the Lord. Have you not become so engrossed in the activities of your daily life that your walk with the Lord is wobbling? Has your quiet time not become a mere routine that you just do to let your conscience rest and fulfil all (un)righteousness? Have you not become so occupied that you cannot even remember the last time you had an enriching and refreshing communion with your Lord? Do you still have time to read and study the Scriptures, like you did when you first believed? Have secular novels not replaced the Christian literatures that you once cherished? Oh! My friend, how would you rate your Christian life now? Has your besetting sin not crept up on you again, dragging you back to your vomit?
Hear the voice of Jesus as He called to Martha back then: “… Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42. Come apart; away from all the distractions around you, and devote some quality time to hear from God. He longs to have a relationship with you, to reawaken, refresh and revive you. He wants to restore to you the joy of salvation, and uphold you with His free Spirit (Psalm 50:12). He calls for you like a Shepard seeking His lost sheep, gently whispering to your mind and seriously craving for your attention.
Are you going to let this call go unanswered? Will you leave the Master waiting still at the door of your heart without a response? Have you become too busy to recognize the Saviour’s voice? Has the hustling and bustling of the day quenched your thirst for more of God?
It is dangerous to linger in that state a little longer, because things may get worse than you could ever imagine. Get yourself together, find a solitary place and listen quietly for the Voice of God. I am sure you will relish those moments, and you would not like to depart from His presence ever again. Go, He is expecting you like the father of a prodigal child.
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17.