It was interesting to me that in the passage about the feeding of the five thousand, we have absolutely no record of the disciples eating. All it tells us is that they picked up the leftovers. The disciples were doing good thing by serving, but they were so busy picking up the leftovers of everybody else's blessing that they missed on being filled.
Now I don't mind picking up leftovers, but I also want to be one of the ones getting fed. This means that I must carve time out of my busy day to sit quietly in the presence of Jesus so he can speak to me. Are you missing out on what Jesus wants to say to you because you're so busy serving?
I think this might have been part of Martha's problem. The Lord and his disciples had dropped in for supper at the home of Martha, Lazarus, and Mary. Martha was running around madly tying to get food on the table. She expected her sister to help her, but Mary was just sitting at the Lord's feet, listening to him. It was too much to take. So Martha went to Jesus and said, "Tell her to help me" (Luke 10:40).
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her" (vv. 41-42).
Like so many of us, Martha was too busy serving to sit down, and so she was hungry and cranky. Mary, on the other hand, was sitting peacefully at the Lord's feet being filled with the Bread of Life.
Don't the good things often keep us too busy to sit still at Jesus' feet and receive the best of what he has for us? I think about my life and particularly how I use my home. Most often when I have people over, it's ministry related. We're busy doing those good things in our homes, but sometimes I've found that the Lord doesn't speak to me while I'm preparing for or in the midst of those good things. He doesn't speak to me when I'm "worried and upset about many things." He speaks to me when everybody's gone and the house is quiet. It's when my body, mind, and emotions are still that he ministers and speaks to me. This seemed to be the case with Samuel as well. It's not that God doesn't want us to serve - he does. It's just that we must find a balance between serving and spending time in his presence.
The next time we see Martha, she's still serving. That was her gift, after all. Mary is again sitting at the feet of Jesus - this time, she anoints his feet with perfume (John 12:1-3). Though no one seems to be helping Martha, she no longer seems distracted, and she isn't complaining.
My guess is that after Jesus' gentle reproach, Martha learned to take time out from serving to sit down and hear from her Lord. However she rearranged her schedule, it worked, since her attitude was completely changed.