Issues of Life

Martha and Mary at Christmas

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42).

There’s a story in the Bible about Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42), two sisters who loved the Lord Jesus.  Martha was a servant with her love.  She laboured to please Him.  Mary was a friend with her love.  She desired to be with Him.  Jesus said Martha was choosing to be burdened with work, but Mary had chosen the right way to show her love.

Most times, I don’t feel much like Mary.  It’s not that I don’t see the Lord as my friend, or want to spend time with Him.  It’s just I am much too busy working for Him!!!  I always feel there isn’t enough time in the day to do all the work that I am supposed to do to please Him.  So I am constantly rushing around, too engrossed in one thing or another, to actually enjoy the fellowship of the One I am serving.  Isn’t that bizarre?  But it is a common phenomenon.

Like the billionaire who works so hard to make the money, keep and protect the money, that he doesn’t have time to enjoy the money – even though he spends it.  He has built his family, feeds and clothes them, but he doesn’t know them!  In the same way, we lose touch with the important things, when we focus on the means (the work or job) rather than the mission (our goal and purpose).

I’ve always been perplexed by Jesus’ statement (Matt 7:21-23), that at the Day of Judgment, He will send many away who ‘worked’ for Him and by the power He gave, that He never knew them (v 23), and they are workers of iniquity (wickedness, evil, vanity etc).  I always thought that was rather harsh, but it is true.  These, like Martha, have lost sight of their mission, while focused on the means.  The pride of being good at doing has kept them separate from the One they set out to please, so that in all their doing, they are doing unto themselves.  Their perfectionism probably caused them to turn away help when it came, so that they are left feeling bitter with the burden they chose.

Somewhere down the line, their agenda changed, so that it was no longer about God’s purpose, but their plan!  If we don’t abide in the Lord, can we bare His fruit???  No doubt, we will bear fruit, a mountain load, and though we might remember to give glory to God, we will probably smile to ourselves that it was because of our effort, commitment and passion.  Those who depend on God, and stay connected to God while working for Him, NEVER grow weary or become unloving, because He is constantly teaching, guiding and sustaining them.  Like Isaiah said, they’ll soar on wings like eagles (Isa 40:31)!

I am not saying that anyone is that perfect that they will never fall or get distracted.  But we must recognise that when we worry, we sin.  Jesus repeatedly commanded us not to worry (Matt 6:25, 31, 34).  We grow weary because we lose faith, and anything that is not of faith is SIN (Rom 14:23).  When God, in His mercy, blesses us with provision, and all we can think of is how much more accounting we are to do, we are on another mission, not His!  In my striving to be professional, I’ve heaped burdens on my head in my Charity work that God didn’t put there.  I am not saying God doesn’t have high standards and expectation of orderliness and competence in our work, but they shouldn’t take one iota of our love away!

So, in a roundabout way, I’m confessing that I’ve been a Martha, grumpy at all the Marys out there enjoying Christmas, while I have to work.  As people have been moved to give at this time, I’ve been thinking, where were they all year when I needed them?  I’ve been ungrateful and unloving, and the Lord has opened my eyes to see this for exactly what it is – wickedness!  When it stops being about Him, it becomes idolatry and adulterous!  Basically, we are getting our kick, buzz, joy, from something or someone else besides Him.  And what a jealous God He is (Deu 4:24)!

Paul teaches that whatever we do; eat, drink or even sleep, we should do to the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31).  So, I am remembering that though the Lord has called me to work, His yoke is light and His burden is easy (Matt 11:28-30).  He will never give me more than I can bare (1 Cor 10:13).  With His love in my heart, I can surely do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13).  If you’ve been like Martha too, choose that good part today – and be filled with the joy of the Lord.  The joy of being counted worthy to serve Him.

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2 replies »

  1. you know, just recently, my pastor preached a message tagged “the scoreboard”. in life, many things are allowed, good things i mean, that would get us the applause of people, good people inclusive, but if those things don’t boarder on our primary assignment, they won’t amount to much on our scoreboard. Mary knew to keep her eyes on the scoreboard and not be distracted by much service, but martha missed it there. your article reminds us to be wary of much activity without purpose, and you bet this is the season we are most prone to fall for that trap. thanks for the reminder


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