The Martha Complex

This term at Bible School I am taking a course called Hermeneutics. It’s quite a fancy name and sounds really cool when you tell people “I’m taking a course in Hermeneutics,” but in reality, it is merely a course equipping a person in how to study the Bible. It’s a handy course to start the year off with because you can’t really learn much from the Bible if you don’t know how to find information.

The thing is, all of us should be studying the Bible on a regular basis, whether we are taking a course in Hermeneutics or not. It isn’t that complicated of a job and, as I have learned, anyone can understand God’s word. Notice that I said “should study the Bible” rather than “are studying the Bible”, and that is because unfortunately, many of us aren’t studying God’s Word regularly, if at all.

Why is this? Well, when hearing adults and teens speaking about why they don’t study God’s word, the reason I hear the most is: “I am too busy”.

Sound familiar?

I’ve realised that I use the same excuse. Maybe never out loud (because I know that it’s the wrong answer) but definitely in my heart. “Sorry God, can’t do my Quiet Time today. I have a million things to do. I promise I’ll spend time with you tomorrow.” This could be referred to as the Martha Complex. In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus visits sisters Mary and Martha and we see their very different reactions to being with Him: Mary sits down at Jesus’ feet and soaks in all that He has to say, while Martha busies herself, trying to work for Jesus and forgets to actually spend time with him. (I completely relate to you Martha.)

And do you know what’s even worse? Even though I will stop studying God’s Word daily, I don’t stop trying to do other things. I even try and keep up with ministry such as my blog, youth programs and music programs without spending time with God regularly. That leaves me trying to live a busy life without the strength of God to help me through it. John 15:5 says “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bares much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (ESV). Jesus tells me that apart from Him I can do nothing, yet whenever I skip Bible study I am trying to do everything apart from him.

So I have realised that when I find myself in a place of being too busy for God, I need to check where my heart lies, where I am trying to get my strength from, where my time is going and if some of it should be going to God instead. I also need to make sure to remember the God that I am actually serving.

I once heard it said that “It is crazy to believe we can ‘make’ time for the God who actually made time.” He created me and that should be more than enough to make me desire to spend time with him. I simply need to remember that if I think I am too busy for God, I am definitely too busy. He needs to be my strength in my busy life and that is not possible if I don’t spend time with Him.

So what am I doing about it? I have a Quiet Time Diary that I am committed to using every day. I have set aside a specific time that helps me keep a routine. And I have tried to check my attitude and my heart to see why I don’t want to spend time with God and why I brush Him off. I encourage you to do the same thing. Perhaps you too will realise the need for more time with God.

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