As I looked over my to-do list Easter Sunday morning, I was overwhelmed. Between preparing something for our church breakfast, ensuring that the spark plugs had church-appropriate attire on, and practicing for the various special music selections, I was pretty frazzled by the time I sat down to listen to the sermon. And since I still had congregational playing at the end of the service, I still didn’t feel much like relaxing.
(For the record, I pretty much failed at my preparations anyway: my breakfast coffee cake was underbaked; D somehow made it to church in a Star Wars t-shirt instead of his tie; and I completely forgot to get the pianist hymnal out of the pulpit before the start of the service.)
As I sat there half-listening and half thinking through the rest of the song service, I felt the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart.
“You are worried about many things. But only one thing is needed” (see Luke 10:41-42).
I was well familiar with the story of Mary and Martha, and yet I had fallen right into the same trap. While serving and singing and playing were all good things, things I’m sure the Lord had asked me to help with, I had gotten so caught up in the tediousness of them all that my heart had not been where it belonged: worshiping and the feet of Jesus.
All the good things in my schedule had edged out what was truly best.
It was Easter Sunday, but quietly thanking Him for the gift of His resurrection wasn’t exactly on my agenda. All the “good” things I had happily volunteered to do were all distracting me from the best thing.
I’m certain the devil had planned for just this outcome. In his conniving way, he had convinced me that dressing up, hitting all the right notes, and being prepared were what was most important. I gave in to fretting about how we looked, how well I played, and how smoothly everything would go.
In short, I hadn’t adequately prepared myself for Easter, nor had I been wise enough to avoid the self-focused trap that Satan had laid for me. I know I worry way too much about what other people think; about making sure all the little details come together; and about aiming for perfection when it’s completely impossible here on Earth.
This week, my schedule is overly full. I’ve said yes to some very good and important events, but I hope and pray that I will avoid missing the best because of the good the way I did this past Sunday. If I can learn a life-long lesson from everything that happened this Easter, God will have brought good from all of my poor choices.
Would it have been better to have chosen worship over worry? Of course. But all the same, I’m grateful that the Lord isn’t limited by my sin and mistakes and that He can use everything, even the bad and the ugly, for His glory.
Is your good the enemy of your best?
Have you ever let your good things become the enemy of your best things? Have you stressed over the minutia and missed the magnificent? If so, know that you’re not alone. It’s human nature to focus on lesser things and to forget the things most needed.
I’m so thankful for the story of Mary and Martha. It’s easy to judge Martha for her poor choice to indulge in busyness and to laud Mary’s decision to worship at Jesus’ feet. But in truth, we’re all naturally inclined to follow Martha’s example over Mary’s.
Jesus’ invitation to Martha, to choose the “one thing that is needed,” is offered to us as well. I didn’t make a wise decision on Easter Sunday, but I am learning and growing in this area and hope that in the future, I’ll opt to follow Mary’s lead more and more.