Only one thing is needed. (Luke 10:42)

I rushed into church, frustrated at being late, and was momentarily stopped by an acquaintance. “Hi! Meet my husband,” she said. “Hi,” I said with a quick smile as I scurried away. Later the woman confronted me. “You know, I’ve been trying to get my husband to church for a long time. You dashed away so fast he asked, ‘Wow, does that woman even like you?'” I had a lot of apologizing and repenting to do. In my hurry to do “right,” I seriously missed what mattered.

In the story of Mary and Martha hosting Jesus, it’s easy to criticize Martha for being distracted. But perhaps she really wanted to sit at Jesus’ feet and desperately desired help so she could. Hosting duties were taken very seriously in that culture. Yet Jesus didn’t care about that. To Him, what mattered was attending to His voice. Who cared if they ate late or had figs but no dates? For Martha, preparing to meet with Jesus kept her from noticing what was most important.

Let’s not let getting ready to meet with God keep us from listening to His voice. We are invited to His table, and He’d rather we be there than get so distracted by making things perfect that we never actually sit down with Him. Let’s take time to breathe before entering His presence so we can listen for His voice.

This week try arriving for service fifteen minutes early to sit quietly before the Lord.

Diane Gardner lives in the San Francisco Bay area, where she enjoys theater, community events, and watching the sun set over the bay.