Study B: What are the deceptions we have about the use of our time?
‘Our Christian lives can be full of good intentions to do more for God, but time and time again those good intentions are sapped by the pace of our lives.’ The following are comments from members of Tim Chester’s church:
How can I balance time between church, work and friends?
I know too many people – I don’t have time to keep up with them all.
Is busyness bad?
Why do Christians seem busier than non-Christians?
I feel trapped in my lifestyle.
Who’s in charge of my time?
I always seem to take on too much.
Please clear my diary!
I feel guilty about the tensions between work, church and family.
I just don’t want to be busy all the time.
Which of these do you sympathise with? What comments of your own would you add about busyness?
‘If you’re serious about tackling your busy behaviour you’ll have to put your own heart in the picture. You’ll have to face up to the deceptions you live by and make choices to replace them with the truth.’
What ’deceptions’ might there be in your life about your use of time? Where do these come from? How can we tackle them?
Read Luke 10: 38-42
What did Mary have that Martha needed?
What was the “good part” Mary chose?
Why will the good part that Mary chose remain hers forever? It is possible that Martha was older and that her age figured into her personality and perspective (Lk 10:38). Martha’s words and actions depict her as practical and efficient. Nothing is wrong with being practical and efficient if it doesn't interfere with the more important things in life. If we read no further, we could assume Mary may have been a little lazy, leaving the needs of hospitality and hostess to her sister. Maybe Mary was shy. To better understand Mary’s actions, read John’s account of the same visit (John 12: 1-3).
What words would you use to describe Mary here?
What do her actions reveal about Mary’s attitude to Jesus?
How can we apply the lessons from Mary’s example to our own lives?
To find out more about ‘the good part’ that we need, read:
Matthew 6:33 – what should our highest priority in life be?
Luke 4:4 – compare this with Deuteronomy 8:3. What does John 6:63 add to our understanding?
What do John 1:14-15 and John 6:68 reveal Mary understood about the most important thing in life?
Mary and Martha were Jesus’ good friends. Martha stayed busy supplying her guests with things that made their visit more comfortable. She should be commended for seeing to the important needs of others. But Jesus commended her sister Mary.
Jesus noted, in effect, that Martha stayed busy with form, but that Mary concentrated on substance. He commended Mary for choosing the good part, the holy words, truth and faith of Jesus Christ, which will never be taken from her. We should follow Mary’s example and desire God’s truth above everything else.
TOO BUSY TO PRAY?
Reflect on which of the comments you agree with most at the beginning of this study.
Meditate on what you could do about this in the coming days.
Confess any deceptions that have been revealed about today and your use of time.
What promises could you make God going forward?
We all have some elements of Martha’s practical busyness and Mary’s opportunist contemplation in our own lives.
Discuss with a partner: the balance you have between the two and any changes you might need to make? Then pray for each other in your pair.
 Chester, T., The Busy Christians Guide... (7-8)
 Chester, T., The Busy Christians Guide... (10-12)