Doing nothing for Lent

Martha_and_Mary_by_He_Qi_ChinaSometimes I tell people: Don’t just do something, sit down and do nothing. This confuses them a lot. We have the tendency to say just the opposite: Don’t just sit there, get up and do something. For us, we must be doing. We must be active. We must be working. If we’re not working, then we’re doing something wrong. If we’re not doing something then we’re being lazy.

The story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10 always gets me. Here is Martha who opens her home up to Jesus and his disciples. And then she goes on a whirlwind of cooking and cleaning and taking care of everyone. She’s busier than a one armed paper hanger. And then here’s her sister, sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to him. Now, many people identify with Martha. How dare her sister just sit there when there’s work to be done. Why isn’t she doing something. She’s being lazy. She’s not being hospitable. Why is she sitting down doing nothing.

But Mary is doing something. She’s focusing on Jesus. She’s doing something that’s amazing. She’s doing something that was against all norms. She, a woman, was sitting at the feet of a rabbi, a teacher, listening and learning, focusing on Jesus and Jesus alone.

That’s what we need to do for Lent. We need to focus on Jesus and do nothing. Sometimes we run around helter skelter looking for that something. That if we don’t use up our time then we’re being lazy. But Jesus on the other hand wants us to stop and do nothing but focus on him. He is what is important.

Too many times we criticize Mary. She’s so heavenly minded she’s no earthly good. Don’t you know people like that? They seem to be walking three feet off the ground and only focus on Jesus. Aren’t they a little bit useless in other areas.

But that’s something we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to stop and do nothing but focus on Jesus. Lent is a time where we are able to focus on Jesus and Jesus alone. Many times people give up something for Lent. But if all you’re doing is a spiritual weight loss program, then it’s not worth a hill of beans.

We must focus on Jesus.

I like Jesus’ response to Martha when she outright asks Jesus to tell her sister to do something (talk about a control freak). Jesus says that Mary has chosen the better thing. She has chosen to sit at the feet of the rabbi, the teacher, the savior, and focus on him.

How can you take time to do nothing during Lent? How can you take time this season to focus on Jesus alone? Put aside the helter skelter hustle bustle of things and stop and do nothing but focus on Jesus. It will change how you do things. It will change how you see things.

Don’t just do something, sit down and do nothing.

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