The hustle and bustle didn't distract her. She sat still. Listening. Others sat around her, but she didn't see them. She was focused. Ears tuned in. Waiting. She had eyes for only one.
Her sister became frustrated. Preparing the meal. Ensuring everyone had a place to sit. Making sure the beverages were topped off. Why was Mary being so lazy and inconsiderate?
At her wits end, Martha finally exclaimed, "Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” (Luke 10:40)
Ever been there?
You're working your fingers to the bone. Putting in overtime. Sacrificing family time. The project deadline looms and you're the only one who cares. You want to scream to the boss, "Tell them to help me!"
You're making another trip to the pharmacy. Yet another health issue. More money spent. Sadness taints your day as you watch your aging parent decline. Your siblings live hundreds of miles away. Your shoulders are weary from bearing the heavy burden. It seems endless. You want to scream to God, "Tell them to help me!"
What do we do when we feel the weight of the world on our shoulders? Throughout the Psalms, one word occurs over and over: Selah. Most likely a musical term, Selah means “pause.” Just simply pause.
That's an arresting picture. It's a picture of uninterrupted time with the Lord. He wants us to pause. He knows we need to pause. To spend time with Him. Refuel for the journey.
Selah never appears at the beginning of a psalm, only in the middle or end. And often several times in between. Why is that important to note? Most of us run through life at 200 mph. We're so busy crossing things off of our impressive to-do lists that we miss seeing God along the journey. Chances are you start each day with prayer. It’s a given. But what about mid-way through? Psalm 46:10 reminds us, “Be still and know that I am God.” Regardless of whether or not a particular task takes one day or several months, pausing often before the Lord in prayer is critical. It helps us to retain God’s focus.
Selah also appears at the conclusion of some of the psalms. Why? Pausing to reflect upon our journey allows us to see how God’s hand moved through it. To recall the divine appointments He orchestrated with others. Pausing to behold the miraculous movement of God’s hand encourages us along our journey of faith.
You and I are busy. We have many demands on our time. Pausing before the Lord brings life's chaos to a momentary halt. Jesus said it was important, too. "'Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'" (Luke 10:41)
As you race through your day, I pray that you choose what is better. Pausing provides a bigger picture. A deep breath before the next 100-yard dash. A different perspective. Pausing with the Lord offers cool water on a hot day. Hope admist monotony. Sanity despite the chaos.
So Selah, friend. Selah.