Forgive me for being redundant all over again. Last month, I wrote about reverting the focus off of our activities and returning them back onto Christ. Quite a bit of time back, I wrote a blog about what I like to describe as The Martha Syndrome. Maybe I’m back on this subject because someone is needing to read this and get the freedom from it, but I think mostly this is a season that I’m going through in my own life. Most Christians know very well the story of Martha and Mary, so I will not, for the sake of brevity, repeat it here. If you would like to read it, though, it can be found in Luke 10:38-42.
I can sympathize the most with Martha. I get focused on the tasks at hand. My love and devotion to God is unquestionable; it is a catalyst for my service, but it always seems to be some point where my focus shifts. The work takes precedence. I take the burden on my shoulders and “if I don’t do it, no one else will.”I begin to place my worth on what I am accomplishing (or trying to accomplishing). I end up worried, tired, and deprived just like how I’m sure Martha was feeling at that time. In fact, I don’t blame her at all for being peeved at Mary. When I read that scripture, there is a part of me that’s saying to Mary “Get up off you’re backside and help!”No joke, I get irritated at Mary too even though all of that happened way before I was just a twinkle in my Momma’s eye.
I’m sure it must have been hard for Martha to swallow when it was she, not Mary, that was rebuked. I can just imagine the pain and the tightening of the throat that she must have had to do to choke back the tears. It doesn’t say whether or not she stopped what she was doing to join Mary or if she went back, hurt, remaining devoted to her duty instead of heeding her Lord’s words and just falling at His feet. My guess is on the latter only because, being honest with myself, that is what I probably would have done. My devotion to duty often is more of a manifestation of my flesh than it is of my spirit. The world tells that if we are worthy, responsible citizens, we live insanely busy lives. Our identity has become wrapped up in what we do for Christ instead of who we are in Christ.
Just like Martha, we can learn a lot from Mary. Mary knew the priority. As David Hoffeditz puts it in his book, They Were Single Too, “Mary’s focus rested upon the eternal, while Martha’s was on the temporal.”Mary’s act was sacrificial. She probably knew all too well what people would think of her as she remained at Jesus’feet instead of serving. My guess is people did talk, but the worry of what others thought could not compare to the rest and renewal found in being at her Savior’s feet.
“The burden of our limitations or the unrealistic view of ourselves and our contributions will fade when we rest in Him.”- Hoffeditz.
There is freedom in this! Most of us do not intentionally become over worked, stressed, and burdened. Nor do I believe we do so out of pride, but because we have never been told that we have the permission and freedom to just rest at His feet. There is a time to act and there is a time to serve. Having to work is a good thing so please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying. But as we live in a time where our culture screams for us to be busy and it screams even louder when it comes to serving in the church, we need to take from this that we have the free license to seek and dwell in Him with reckless abandonment. We are called to act, but spending time with Him and abiding in Christ has to come first before we could ever act effectively. “Seek first His kingdom…”, the first step of this is seeking the one and only Him, the one who reigns over it.
If I’ve made this sound just that easy. I apologize, I don’t mean to. For most of us, if we’re honest, time with God is the first to go when our schedule gets busy. A question to ask yourself is, does spending time with God feel like it’s just one more thing you have to do? If you’re like me, sometimes it is. You’re not alone, but it is a strong indication of overload and misplaced focus. Sometimes it takes a reconditioning of the heart, not something we can do ourselves, but God can and will for the asking. If we will just, fall down at His feet.