Being a teacher of Latin in Secondary School, I quite often have Latin quoted at me by people who know what I do. One of the most common phrases quoted is ‘carpe diem’. People understand this as ‘seize’ the day. In the dictionary, there is another translation of ‘carpe’, and that is to ‘pluck’ (as we harvest fruit from a tree). I prefer this translation, as it is a little less gung-ho, and it reminds me to take time out of the day to take stock and think for a bit. (This is not always easy for me in school).
The best use of this time is to come before Jesus and ask him about the next step, or how to deal with such and such a person, and even just to gain strength by gazing on His loveliness and goodness. The verse above, spoken by Jesus, has a little bit of ‘carpe diem’ about it.
In Luke 10.41, Jesus speaks to a friend of His called Martha, who is hosting a get-together where Jesus is the guest. While she is running around, getting into a bit of a fluster, her sister, Mary, is sitting at the feet of Jesus, hanging on to His every word. Martha complains to Jesus that Mary is not helping her with the work. ‘“Martha, Martha”, the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her”’.
While I have some sympathy for Martha (organising a party is not always easy), I think it is useful to apply these words to us generally. Are we indeed spending a lot of time being ‘worried and upset about many things’, at the expense of sitting at the feet of our wonderful Saviour and sharing our life with him?
Prayer: Day by day (moment by moment), three things I pray: to see You more clearly, love You more dearly and follow You more nearly, day by day. Amen.
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