One of the things I loved about being a student in York (several millennia ago) was wandering around the city on a Saturday afternoon and watching all the street entertainers. Talented musicians, magicians, fire-eaters and unicyclists: I’ve come across them all, often surrounded by an awestruck audience. Among my favourite acts was a man who set fire to half a dozen skittles before launching them into the air and then juggling them in a constant loop for several minutes without either dropping one or burning himself in the process.As someone who struggles to juggle even one ball, I was impressed. I have tried in the past to master this skill, but there’s something about having to concentrate on more than two moving objects at a time that completely flummoxes me. Even trying with two balls feels laborious and clumsy. I understand that ‘practice makes perfect’, but – in my case – probably only if I live to be 150.
My day-to-day life frequently resembles a juggling act, too. Differing tasks compete for my attention, leaving me confused and exhausted. It appears that some days, I’m not much better at managing my responsibilities than I am at catching flaming skittles.
I wonder whether that’s what Jesus was thinking about when he gently chastised Martha for being distracted by her preparations. (Luke 10: 38 – 42.) I don’t think (sadly!) that he was saying we never need do the housework again…or go out to work / look after the children / volunteer for the tea and coffee rota, and so on. But re-reading this passage reminds me I need to make Jesus my primary focus. Sometimes that will mean dropping everything to sit at his feet: on other occasions I need to learn to keep my eyes on him in the midst of my busyness.
And what about you? Do you ever feel you’re juggling too many things and waiting for them to come crashing down on top of you? How do you manage to keep Jesus at the centre of things? I’d love to hear from you!