I was so near to God, yet so far.
I was so caught up with serving and doing things for God – good things like missions and my ministries – that I was actually wandering away from Him.
I heard myself asking: Why isn’t anyone else doing anything for Christ? Why do I feel like I’m the only one trying to make an impact for God’s kingdom?
I was filled with pride. And because of that, doubts, distraction and discouragement crept into my life, and I didn’t understand why. But the reason was simple: I had stopped looking to Jesus.
And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”
But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:39-42)
Martha was so busy serving Jesus that she forgot to spend time with Jesus.
Although Martha had good intentions to serve Jesus, she missed out on the best thing, which is to sit at Jesus’ feet and spend time with Him before doing, you know, stuff.
The truth is that her problems might not disappear in the time spent with Jesus. But her worry would – that’s the lesson of John 16:33, where we’re told there will be trouble, but we’re exhorted not to worry about it, because … Jesus!
We will get discouraged in life. People will disappoint us. Circumstances will sometimes overwhelm us. But in such times we mustn’t respond like the world would, running away and giving in to despair.
What we need to do is rest in God, refocus and listen carefully to the assuring whispers of His grace. Once we are recharged and filled with Christ, we can go back in the world for His glory and purposes.
Being productive and getting things done – that’s all important. But praying and enjoying God’s presence must be more important that.
Work for God that is not nourished by a deep relationship with Him will eventually be contaminated by other things like ego, power and the fear of man. If we work for God with such motivations, we’ll lose sight of the main thing. Our sense of worth and validation will gradually shift from God’s unconditional love for us in Christ, to the success of our works and performance.
Are you, like I was, burnt out from the demands of ministry? Are you restless?
The lesson of Mary vs Martha is that you need to be with Christ, before doing things for Him. Only when we are topped up will we be able to pour out and invest into the lives of others effectively. We can only serve out of the overflow of our hearts.
The danger comes when we get caught up in doing so many things for Christ that we neglect spending time with Him. We risk doing “godly” things in the energy of the flesh, rather than in power of the Spirit.
Being productive and getting things done – that’s all important. We can’t be passive. But praying and enjoying God’s presence must be more important that. We need to constantly come back to Christ before we can serve and help others.