“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.’
And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.’”
Many of us can get so “diligent” about the Lord’s business that we don’t even realize when it just starts to become our own busyness.
Being busy, even as a minister of God’s love, does not mean we are doing what we are supposed to do. It might mean that we are operating in our own strength. It could indicate that we are in the way of something else God wants to do, or in the way of someone else He desires to develop and raise up for a certain work.
Being “benched” these past months in the US, I’ve realized that the team on the ground in Kitgum has stepped up in big ways. They’ve stumbled here and there, but they’ve dusted themselves off and kept going. I’m really proud of them! They’re learning and developing in ways that they couldn’t have if I decided to stay busy “about the Lord’s business” and not stop to lay down at His feet. They would have missed out, and I would have too. It’s not the “Erica” show, it’s the Jesus show. And if we are so busy, tired and worn out that we stop showcasing His glory and power, then it’s time to take a breath.
I like to think of myself as Mary (don’t we all), but oftentimes I am Martha in this story. I’m worried about so many things. I’m busy, hustling and running around trying to bless the Lord and serve the people and DO DO DO. None of these things are bad, in themselves. But they kept Martha from the feet of Jesus. And more often than I’d like to admit, they do the same for me.
Having the heart of obedience is most certainly a call to arms and a call to action. But not first and foremost. Before that, it is a call to sit at His feet, drink in His love, and be in His Presence. Worship, as we talked about last week, and then just BE. Life will go on even if we aren’t working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! God will still do His work. He doesn’t NEED us, but He delights to use us. As long as we first sit with Him. Spend time with Him. Just be.
He is concerned for His workers; ahem, I mean, children; and rightfully so.
How often do we stop?
How much do we care for His Temples that He has entrusted to us? Caring for ourselves is not sinful. Actually, it is sinful to not be a good steward of ourselves. That includes spiritual, emotional, and physical health. It includes taking times to rest and reflect. Doing something fun. Recharging and fixing what may be broken so that we may be that much more effective.. and not only so that we may be more effective, but because this life belongs to God and it is just as valuable as any life we may minister to.
I often struggle with a sort of kamikaze Christianity- I’ll go out to the field, pour out every ounce of blood sweat and tears, and I’ll die there for the sake of Christ. We are called to take up our cross, not throw away the life He has entrusted to us. There’s a balance. Yes, He may call me to die on the field. If that’s the case, all glory to Him! I am willing. But He may call me to times of healing because He’s not done with me yet. (Actually, He definitely will- that’s why I am where I am at the moment!) And He may do the same for you.
We have to take care of ourselves so that we can be all that He has created us to BE. That is the heart of obedience.
Next week we will look at the doing that comes with a heart of obedience. I hope you’ll join me!
Please comment below and share your thoughts!