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Caught Being Lazy

Kirsten Houmann

When the people of Judah squandered their time and money while sitting around in their “paneled houses,” the Lord patiently waited for them to rebuild His temple.

When God had seen enough, He spoke through the prophet Haggai: “‘Consider your ways! You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes.’” “‘You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house’” (Haggai 1:5, 6, 9, NKJV).

When the people of Judah heard these words, they decided it would be wise to put God first. He accepted their obedience and helped them rebuild the temple.

Then there’s Martha. She graciously opened up her home to Jesus, but she wasn’t gracious enough to open up her heart to Him. Yet her sister, Mary, soaked up every minute possible in the Lord’s presence (Luke 10:39, 40). Martha even had the nerve to accuse her sister of being lazy in Jesus’ presence!

Jesus responded: “Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42, NKJV).

Do you choose “that good part”? Or do you keep yourself busy with unimportant priorities?

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Kicking Out Martha!

by Kirsten Houmann

I learned that giving my time to God makes room for all the important things in life.

“Hey, Kirsten. Do you want to go out to eat with us tonight? Don’t give me that ‘stress’ excuse again.”

“Kirsten! You really need a break from your homework. How ’bout watching a movie this afternoon?”

“Practicing! That’s all you do! Can’t you make time for your friends?”

That’s how most conversations with my friends went when stress ruled my life. I always had my eye on getting the best grades, being involved in the most clubs, and winning the talent show. My relationships paid for it, too, and not just with family and friends. My relationship with God suffered as well. No longer was God the King of my life—achievement was.

Instead of leaving time for listening to my friends and studying the Bible, I constantly ran around trying to meet self-made deadlines. I stretched myself out as thin as a taut rubber band by overbooking my schedule, never refusing performance opportunities, and staying up so late studying that tardiness to morning classes became a habit. I procrastinated not because I wanted to, but because my cluttered life forced me to.

I ignored countless warning signs that I’d become an overachiever in the worst sense of the word. Many people laughingly assign the term to those who are always in the spotlight because of their accomplishments. But for some, such as me, it can be a disorder. Teachers asked me daily, “Are you OK?” My mom would tell me, “You’re allowed to be happy! Just relax!”

My constant efforts to be the best estranged me from my friends.

After months—possibly years—my achieving disorder took a turn for the worse. The fact that I was crying daily, almost never happy, and hurting loved ones with my negative attitude caught up to me and sounded an alarm that I couldn’t ignore.

I finally decided to take action against the powerful ruler in my life called achievement. It wasn’t the ruler itself that posed the problem, but the power it wielded. I sought help. Professional help, family help, and divine help. For me, the time had come for achievement to step down, and for God to take control of my life.

The Master Planner

For some people surfing MySpace is king of their lives, for others it’s school obligations. For still others, dating relationships rule their lives with an iron fist. Luke 10:40 makes it clear that domestic perfectionism ruled Martha’s life.

Martha’s efforts to impress Jesus with the tidiness of her home took away time that she could have spent with the One she was trying to impress. Instead, her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, savoring every minute in His presence, and Jesus noticed.

“‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her’” (Luke 10:41, 42, NKJV).*

Although I still struggle with self-inflicted stress, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made involved choosing what is better—time with God. Eventually all of my awards, prizes, grades, and even my feelings of accomplishment will fade to nothing, but my relationship with God won’t.

Here are some ways I learned to put God at the top of my priority list while effectively managing my time. Hopefully you, too, will find these pointers helpful.

Put together (and follow) a weekly or daily schedule. Schedule in the things you are tempted to procrastinate about doing, and don’t forget to write in some free time! Not only will it organize your day, it will help prevent forgetfulness. Nothing is more satisfying than looking back and seeing how much God helped you get done.

Hand everything over to God. If you are tempted to waste your time or get stressed out, take this to God in prayer. If you are prone to stress and worry, remember what Jesus says in Matthew 6:25-34. Look it up in your favorite version.

Take time for the important people in your life. Stop to listen to and pray with a friend. Take a minute to call your mom and tell her that you love her. Give some time to your loved ones.

Live in the present. Take several moments during your day to stop and stand in awe of the gift of life God’s given you. Acknowledge that He will make everything in your life fall into place as you trust Him.

Remember for whom you are living. God has given you talents and time to further His kingdom. Make His purpose, your purpose—not personal achievement or gain.

Find a hobby that you enjoy. Whether you like reading, playing basketball, or knitting, a hobby is a good way to enrich your free time and use the gifts God’s given you.

Whether you spend most of your day finding excuses to avoid studying or you waste your time worrying about what to accomplish next, remember that time is a gift from God. If you give this gift back to Him, He will perform miracles with it. Not only that, you’ll experience peace and find purpose like you never have before.

*Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980,1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Kirsten Houmann graduated from Southern Adventist University in 2008. She’s a professional writer who enjoys travel journaling and playing the piano. Her other hobbies include photography and animal rescue.

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