Where's the baby?

John Hill 

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10:38-42

Someone recently said to me, ”Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water!” Basically my friend wanted me to remember to keep my priorities straight and to not go overboard with certain things. I knew exactly what they were saying to me, but nonetheless, the familiar phrase struck a chord in me because of my realization, seemingly for the first time, of its truly graphic nature. Of course, no one would ever really throw a baby out with their bath water, would they? Yet, someone did it at some point or else why would we have such an idiom in our culture? And, as hard as it is to believe, somewhere someone may have had to ask, “Where’s the baby?”

Jesus could have said the bathwater phrase to a woman named Martha upon a visit He once made to her home. Luke writes about the incident and recounts that Mary was very busy and, “was distracted with much serving.” In her haste to prepare for Jesus’ visit and to ready her home, she became sidetracked from what Jesus would later say was the one thing which was ‘necessary.’ Martha even allowed her distraction to plant a small seed of self-pity in her life as she asked Jesus to tell her sister Mary to help. Mary, on the other hand, was very focused on what was most necessary, as she had positioned herself at the feet of Jesus to hear Him teach (a common position from which to learn in the Middle Eastern culture).

In other words Martha, “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater by focusing so much on your efforts to be hospitable, which is a worthy pursuit, that you miss the better pursuit of sitting at the feet of Jesus.”

I think that as 2014 draws to a close, we all should pay great attention to Jesus’ words to Martha because we can all be a Martha at times. Especially in the these final months when families will arrive, or we will travel to see them; as the details of endless parties, shows, and kid events mount; and even serving opportunities at church multiply; we can find ourselves ‘distracted’ from the ‘one thing that is necessary.’

So as the pressures of the Holidays race towards us I encourage you to take few moments each day to just sit at the feet of Jesus. Go ahead and plan; be sure to enjoy family; and of course serve God as the world comes to church to celebrate the season; but don’t forget to keep focuses on the reason for the hope that this time of the year often brings.

So don’t neglect your quiet time with God. Don’t skip worship services so you can get the house ready before everyone comes over. And don’t forget to tell others about the object of your faith; the One Who can change their lives as He has yours.

In a nutshell, “Don’t throw the baby [Jesus] out with bathwater [your busy schedule]” this holiday season.

After all, ‘holiday,’ is the combination of ‘Holy’ and ‘day’ and something that is holy is something that is to be ‘set apart’ so that it can be honored. And the holidays are days that we set apart in order to honor Jesus; not days that we get so busy with that we forget Him.

Happy Holidays, Martha.


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