“Martha, Martha, 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 10:41–42
I’m probably one of the many people looking forward to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions—not so much because I want to go out, but because I’ve been too busy at home.
Too busy? Surprisingly, yes. Over the past two months during the Circuit Breaker, I’ve struggled with not knowing when to stop work, or being caught up by the many things I needed to do, such as house chores, taking stock of food and other supplies at home, and going to the supermarket to stock up. Some of my friends, too, have told me that they have been working over the weekends as a way of distracting themselves from the monotony of being at home for so long.
It made me wonder: Have we become busy for the sake of being busy? Have we turned home—a place that should be synonymous with rest—into a place where we should work?
A recent article on telecommuting noted that COVID-19 has changed the way companies view working from home. Many are now realising that allowing workers to telecommute does not necessarily result in them doing less work—in fact, it could be the reverse. This has prompted more firms, such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Mastercard, to consider a permanent shift to remote working even after COVID-19 is over.
If this really happens for more workers, perhaps it warrants a relook into how we ought to view our time at home. Do we need to keep busy all the time? Do we always need to get things done, or achieve something? What is truly important at home?
I am reminded of the story of Jesus visiting the home of Martha and Mary. While Martha was distracted by the tasks of preparation, her sister Mary did not help her, but instead sat down to listen to Jesus’ teaching (Luke 10:38-40). In our time-starved society, we might see her as being lazy—or even, forbid the thought, wasting time.
How could she do nothing while Martha was so busy?
Yet, when Martha complained to Jesus, He said: “Martha, Martha, 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” (vv. 41–42)
For Jesus, the most important thing was spending some uninterrupted time with Him.
I believe this is one way in which we can rest in the Lord. May we not forget that home is a place of rest, even though it has also become our workplace during this COVID-19 outbreak. Just as much as we work, we ought to rest the same too, and simply spend time in the presence of the people we love—like our Lord Jesus and our families.
Perhaps we need to realise that taking a break from our daily routines, sitting down for a leisurely cup of coffee, or simply chilling in the living room and chatting with loved ones isn’t a waste of time.
As we learn to rest at home, let us not forget to rest in the Lord. And may we hold on to His comforting words to Mary, that despite our trials in this world, we can hold on to the fact that when we choose to stop and listen at Jesus’ feet, our relationship with Him will never be taken away from us.