While reading articles on the web; I could not help but notice the repeated theme about how families can handle the stress of family get-togethers. Why are family functions some of the sweetest times of our holiday, but also some of our most stressful? Well, every family has problems, tensions, and dysfunctions, and those don’t take holiday breaks. It requires a lot of energy to care for a crowd, no matter how much we love them. Even the godly Martha became overwrought when Jesus brought His disciples for supper.
Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” Luke 10:40
Here are two suggestions to keep you from being swept away by the stress of family:
First, don’t be afraid to establish healthy boundaries. Give yourself permission to duck out of the room, escape the mob, and let them fend for themselves. If we’re the ones dropping in on others, sometimes it’s best to get a hotel room rather than crash in the spare room.
Second, make sure you don’t skimp on your devotional time with Christ. Martha needed to take a lesson from Mary’s book and sit at Jesus’ feet a while—and so do you. We love others best by loving Him more.
I am a person who likes to plan out their day but I also realize that I will probably not complete all the tasks on my to-do-list. Just as I am really getting into a task; it never fails; someone interrupts me. But as a Christ follower are they really ‘interruption? (The Lord directs the steps of the godly..”. (Psalm 37:23a)
No one has ever been busier than Jesus Christ. [Mark 6:31} But I never noticed how He handled ‘”interruptions.”
1) A man of influence approached Him with an urgent request to help his sick child. Though Jesus was ministering to a large crowd:
2) Jesus immediately saw this “interruption” as an opportunity to meet a need.
3) The ever-present crowd made progress difficult. Suddenly Jesus stopped and asked, “Who touched me?” The first “interruption” is now being interrupted by a second “interruption!” A woman had reached out in faith and was immediately healed. But why did Jesus stop? (Never that of this?) The woman’s healing had already occurred.
Jesus stopped to draw attention to her healing because she needed to realize that she wasn’t an interruption or unimportant to Jesus; she mattered. With compassion, He calls her “Daughter” and affirms her faith and sends her home.
Jesus invites us to come to Him like this woman did. He assures us that we’ll never be an interruption. ‘I will never turn away anyone who comes to me.” John 6:37a
It amazes me that people are able to communicate with each other just by having a certain look on their face. A mother can give her child a certain look and the child knows they are in trouble. A young man, trying to win the heart of a young lady, can tell by the look on her face whether his efforts are welcomed.
When Jesus Christ walked this earth, He conveyed a range of emotions by the way He looked at people.
- Matthew 9:36 “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them…”
- Mark 8:33 “Jesus turned around. He looked at His followers and spoke sharp words to Peter…”
- Mark 10:21 “Jesus looked at him with love…”
But the most notable look that Jesus gave anyone was when He looked at Peter after Peter betrayed Him. Luke 22:61 “Just then, the Master turned and looked at Peter. Peter remembered what the Master had said to him: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” He went out and cried and cried and cried.”
But Luke fails to describe what that look conveyed. Anger? Sadness? Disappointment? Compassion? Though no one can say for sure, I am inclined to believe it was a look of compassion.