Multi-tasking is challenging. A juggler who can keep seven balls aloft at one time is rare.
The fundamental difference between the multi-tasking Martha and her non-multi-tasking sister was summarized by Jesus as “many things” vs. “one thing” (Luke 10:41-42).
Jesus pronounced the simplified nature of a righteous life with these words in Matthew 5:15—“Nor do they light a candle and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.”
Unlike our day, a candle had only one purpose in Jesus’ time. It was to provide light.
A candle (a small bowl of oil with a wick inserted in it) was not a colorful decoration designed to add subtle beauty or ambiance to a room. It was not considered a way to generate a pleasing aroma when burned (that was the function of incense). Nor was a candle lit for the purpose of heating a chilly room.
A first century candle had one and only one practical purpose—provide light. Therefore, no sane person who needed the elimination of darkness would light a candle and then immediately cover it up.
Like a candle, a life lived righteously has one solitary purpose—live so distinctly that others “may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).