Daily Riches: Busyness and Vanity (Eugene Peterson)

“I want to appear important. What better way than to be busy? The incredible hours, the crowded schedule, and the heavy demands of my time are proof to myself and to all who will notice – that I am important. … I live in a society in which crowded schedules and harassed conditions are evidence of importance, so I develop a crowded schedule and harassed conditions. When others notice, they acknowledge my significance, and my vanity is fed.” Eugene Peterson

“Martha… said, ‘Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you
that my sister just sits here while I do all the work?
Tell her to come and help me.’
But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha,
you are worried and upset over all these details!
There is only one thing worth being concerned about.
Mary has discovered it,
and it will not be taken away from her.’”
Luke 10:40-42

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Martha failed to realize she had an agenda for Jesus’ visit, and that it was her, not her sister who was creating stress. (This is Merton’s “activity … where no activity is required.”) Have you fallen into this trap lately?
  • If we didn’t have the analysis by Jesus, wouldn’t we assume that Mary’s inconsiderate sister was wrong for refusing to help?   that Martha realized what was important and that Mary did not? (Think about the prescriptions of hospitality both now and then.) Which sister would we admire more? We only know better because we’ve become so familiar (if not comfortable) with this story. Don’t you agree that Jesus’ analysis is unexpected and counterintuitive?
  • Which sister do you resemble more? If Martha, could it be because you “want to appear important?”

Abba, I often feel I know just what needs to happen, and just as often fail to consider that you may have other plans or priorities. Help me to be more aware of my motives, and to listen to you before creating more drama for myself and others.


For More: The Contemplative Pastor by Eugene Peterson


The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

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