38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me." 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:38-42)Perhaps this will be a simple reminder to you today. I know every time I read this passage, I am convicted. I am a task-oriented person. Now, don't get me wrong, I love being around people very much, but I am very shy. It is easier for me to get involved in a task than it is for me to walk into a room full of strangers. Also, when I finish a task I know exactly what I have accomplished. It's a form of instant gratification. When working with people it usually takes time to make a difference and/or to see a difference.
There are two things we need to understand in the above story: 1. Martha was not doing anything wrong by busily working. 2. Jesus' approval of Mary's position was not permission to sit and do nothing. Both had to do with timing and attitude.
Here's what I mean: Martha was right to work hard with a servant's heart. However, I find that sometimes what I do under the auspice of a "servant's heart" is really to get recognition by way of either kudos or pity points. Kudos: "Look what a great job he did!" or Pity: "I'm always doing the work while everyone else just sits around having a good time!" (Boo hoo, right? Wrong!) Our service to God is to be focused on God, not on what we get out of it (1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:17, 23). If we are truly consumed with the Savior, like Mary was, we will not give a thought to who is and who is not doing work along side of us. As a matter of fact, we will be so in touch with the Lord that we will sense when His Spirit is saying, "It's time to take a break and enjoy some time with Me for a while."
Mary was right to be consumed with Jesus and His teaching. However, Jesus was not giving us the excuse to sit and soak in more of Him 24/7/365 (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12). However, at this moment the focus was on Christ and what He had to teach.
Sometimes the believer must slow down and soak in the Savior. As a matter of fact, that is why it is so important to set aside a definite portion of time each day to spend reading and meditating on the Bible and praying for God's Spirit to reveal more of Himself to you. This is so you can know Him more and can serve Him more effectively. Mary was falling in love with Jesus; not romantically, but spiritually. That's what happens when you spend time with the Savior. The more you know Him the more overwhelmed you will be by the magnitude of what He did when He paid for your sins on the cross. This will then result in gratitude which will be reflected in service and even more devotion to God.
So, even if what you are doing is good and necessary, check two things: 1. Is it the right time? 2. Do you have the right attitude? If your answer is "no" to either of these questions, then maybe you need to spend a little time soaking in the bliss of the Savior so you don't find yourself stewing in the bitterness of your self-righteousness.
"Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." -Psalm 46:10
For God's Glory,
Chris S. Sweet