When Laboring is Sin
“However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.” Luke 5:15-16
“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’[k] 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[l] 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.’” Luke 10:38-42
As a missionary, “rest” can sound like a foreign concept or a dirty word. This is true not only of missionaries, but all “doers”.
You know the type, the people who see a need and step up to take care of it. The Martha’s of this world. We get so frustrated sometimes, don’t we? We even take it out on the Mary’s, and wonder why things are so unbalanced, why we do all the work while the others sit around.
But in Jesus’ economy, sometimes doing is not the best thing, but rather being with Him. Being a servant is a good thing. Doing for the Lord is admirable… unless we skip the being with Him.
Jesus had the most important ministry this world has ever known. There was never a shortage of work to be done, people to be healed, villages to be visited and sins to be forgiven. Multitudes followed Him, pressed in around Him and begged Him for something. Instead of spending every waking moment of His earthly life doing, He often withdrew Himself from the crowds to spend time in prayer with His Father. His work flowed from that, and He didn’t allow the demands of ministry to dictate His every moment. He did not do what the masses cried for, but what His Father spoke in those quiet moments (see John 6:38).
How can we expect that our ministries will be effective, that our lives will be all that He has intended, if we do not follow the pattern of God in the flesh?
How can we think we will be productive if we are not first quiet, isolated and listening for His Voice?
If we labor without spending time sitting at the feet of Jesus, we are forgetting the most important thing. And I venture to take it a step further and say if we do not seek God first and allow our ministries and lives to flow from that, it will be a work of the flesh (aka sin).
God cares about you. You are important to Him. The work can wait. Spend time with Him today to refill, refresh and renew before pouring yourself out.