Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Lessons from Lockdown: The Essential Thing



Lockdown. It's a word I sure didn't expect to be hearing in 2020, but here we are. The world as we know it seems to have turned upside down over the last couple of weeks, and the Coronavirus has caused a level of change and disruption that we never imagined was possible. However, I think it’s been helping all of us to learn some valuable lessons too. It's been a long time since I've blogged on here, but I feel compelled to share what I'm learning during this time through a blog series called Lessons from Lockdown. (Ironically, when I came up with that title, there was no official lockdown here in the Cayman Islands, even though most people are being cautious and staying home. However, starting tonight, we will be going into a full lockdown for a few days to try to prevent further spread of the virus in the days ahead.)

While praying last night, I was thanking God for the specific lessons that He has been teaching me through this situation. As more and more businesses close their doors, one of the things I’ve been reflecting on is what is truly essential and what’s not. In the middle of my prayer, the Holy Spirit brought to my mind a passage of Scripture that also speaks about what is essential:

“‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset 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.’” 
- ‭‭Luke‬ ‭10:41-42‬ ‭NIV‬‬ (emphasis mine)

In this passage, Jesus was reminding Martha - who was worried about all that needed to be done - about the most essential thing: sitting in His presence. Mary, the sister of Martha, had chosen to sit at Jesus’ feet, to spend time with Him listening to His word (v. 39). Martha, on the other hand, was “distracted by all the preparations that had to be made” during Jesus’ visit (v. 49).

Over the past few days, I’ve found myself feeling a bit like Martha. I too am “worried and upset about many things” (v. 41). It’s not an exact parallel, as Martha was busy serving Jesus, but many days I’ve spent more time checking the news and focusing on my to do list than sitting in the presence of my Savior.

Martha’s concerns were valid and her intentions were good; Jesus wasn’t denying that. He wasn’t telling her to forget about her household responsibilities. Instead, He was reminding her that her greatest need was simply being with Him and hearing His word. And that’s my greatest need too.

The words “Mary has chosen what is better” remind me that I have a choice in how I spend my time right now. I can choose to spend my whole day reading Coronavirus news articles and statistics, running around trying to check every single thing off my to do list, or I can prioritize time with Jesus.

Jesus’ words to Martha were an invitation to enter into His presence, where there is abundant joy (Psalm 16:11). It’s the same invitation He gives in Matthew 11:28: “‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’” 



In the midst of our anxiety and exhaustion, Jesus beckons us to come to Him. May we use this time in isolation to do just that.


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