When I was in high school, I was privileged to play with a drummer who is now a well-respected jazz musician who performs throughout the world. He was light years ahead of me with his musical skill and sensitivity and, even though I was a guitar player, I learned a great deal about music and rhythm by observing and performing with him. I once asked him what skills did a good drummer need, and he confidently replied, “You have to be able to play four different rhythms. Each limb has to be able to play independently.” He then adroitly launched into a remarkably syncopated drum solo illustrating his prodigious talent. I watched in slack-jawed awe. I am challenged by walking and chewing gum at the same time, this was the same task on steroids!
For myself and I suspect many other non-drummers, attempting to tap out four independent rhythms with each limb would be a daunting if not impossible task. Only a gifted few have their brains wired in such a way to accomplish this. Drum teachers aver that the skill can be taught and they may be correct. However, it may still take many years to master and an even more subtle question is, can one make music while doing this? When I asked my classmate how I could learn to do this, he confided in me, “The secret is to not concentrate on each movement, one has to be able to integrate all the movements at the same time.” That is much easier said than done! Some of us are able to multi-task with different jobs but how many are able to do each job with equal efficiency and skill?
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”
Luke 10:38-40 (ESV)
I am sure that many of us have been in the position of Martha. She was distracted and resentful because she was attempting to multitask, leading to frustration and anxiety. Martha may get a bum rap, but I find myself identifying with her more than her sister, Mary. Like my futile attempts to drum four independent rhythms, my attention is drawn to each task instead of focusing upon the big picture. My spiritual life is no different.
In my relationship with God, I am easily distracted by engaging in many activities that appear to be spiritual, believing it strengthens my faith. With time, the activities become another task I need to accomplish rather than an expression of gratitude and worship to Jesus Christ. When this happens, I become overwhelmed with the individual tasks losing sight of the end goal, the bigger picture.
But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:41-42 (ESV)
I need to choose the Good portion, Jesus Christ.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.