I can just hear Jesus shaking his head at me, using my name instead of hers: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things” (Luke 10:41). How about you? Could your name fit in there, too? Unlike her sister Mary, Martha couldn’t find time to sit at Jesus’ feet
The Busy Life
It seems right, doesn’t it? I mean, it’s better than being lazy and doing nothing productive. Serving the Lord is good, after all — isn’t it? As Emily P. Freeman writes in Grace for the Good Girl, “Choosing to please God sounds right at first, but it so often leads to a performing life, a girl trying to become good, a lean-on-myself theology. If I am trying to please God, it is difficult to trust God. But when I trust God, pleasing him is automatic.” And there’s the rub.
The Frazzled Mind
When serving — or any kind of doing — is at the forefront of our priorities, we don’t have quiet souls, we have noisy souls (as Jim Berg describes them at QuietingANoisySoul.com). Discontent, anxious, angry, souls that cannot rest. That was never God’s design, but it’s what we reap when we get our priorities out of whack. While we might not even recognize the disorder in our minds as long as we stay busy, whenever there is an opportunity for quiet and alone time, we tend to shun it or become overwhelmed by the tumult within.
The Prideful Attitude
Often, we busy Marthas are angry at the Marys and (falsely) prideful about our serving, making it even less likely that our service will be received by the Lord (Matthew 6). After all, if we’re truly serving with a heart that loves God, it won’t really matter what anyone else says or does (Colossians 3:23). When it does, it’s clear that our motivation and attitude need adjustment.
Humbly and sacrificially offering our entire lives to God doesn’t make us worthy of accolades; instead, it’s simply reasonable (Romans 12:1), considering all He has done for us. When we realize how undeserving we are of God’s favor toward us (Ephesians 2:8), we won’t be tempted to brag or compare ourselves with others. Instead, we’ll feel like we’re somehow worthy of God’s love.
The Honest Plea
If we’re going to be like Martha, I hope we’re at least like her in this fourth way: She voiced her grievance to Christ. She didn’t go all passive-aggressive and huff around without voicing her frustration. She didn’t treat Mary badly or blow up at her. Instead, she described her frustration to Jesus (who already knew her heart), allowing Him to challenge her thinking and correct her priorities. Even though she had wanted Him to deal with Mary’s presumed shortcomings, Christ pointed out her own.
Just like He wanted from Martha, Jesus wants more of us, our attention, our hearts.
Continue reading with Part 2.
Read the Giving Life series
- Making Time for Others, Part 1
- Making Time for Others, Part 2
- What All Christians Should Re-Gift, Part 3