Today’s writing is not mine, but rather my notes from a message I heard at the church my dear friend Maddie is leading worship at called Risen City, a new church in Kitchener/Waterloo. Pastor Mike Rutledge spoke on a well known passage in Luke’s gospel, commonly known as the story of Mary and Martha.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary,who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” LUKE 10:38-42
If it’s easy to bring up the temporary and negative things in our lives, Mike began, shouldn’t it, even logically, be so much EASIER to access and trust in the only solution to questions, hatred, sin, and EVERYTHING, the Lamb of God?
In this story, Martha is busying herself in preparations that Jesus doesn’t ultimately care about, “distracted.” We see that she wanted Jesus to notice and pay attention to the work she was doing, showcasing a tendency to shift the want of worthy praise to ourselves. Rather than praising her work or “productivity,” though, Jesus gently rebukes Martha’s soul.
“If the Bible never challenges your assumptions, it’s possible you aren’t really hearing it.” –Timothy Keller
And Jesus is so loving, not condemning, but seeking Martha’s betterment, as if to say, “Martha, I don’t want your food, I want your attention.”
Pastor Mike went on to highlight the fact that Martha seems usually to get a “bad rep,” and proceeded to remind us the importance of “Marthas” in the body of Christ– the servant heart, the work and preparations that are simply the reality of making church and the work of Christ accessible in a broken world. Preparations that come from a selfless place.
BUT, here’s the thing. SITTING comes first; SERVING comes second.
Because if we are operating out of ourselves, out of our own trying and business, we will inevitably burn out and fail to serve Christ.
It IS my job to sit at His feet, Jesus calls us to come to Him, not to take advantage of His grace and the fact that He works on our behalf.
But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. DEUTERONOMY 4:29
Here’s the thing: the world that glorifies BUSINESS causes feelings that the literal sitting at Jesus’ feet isn’t “productive” enough.
GOD, however, whose will and portion is perfect, would NEVER call or will us to be so busy that we can’t spend time at His feet.
Indeed, “most of us aren’t busy, but distracted.”
I began reflecting…
More of my time sitting at Jesus’ feet– what would that cause my life to look like? My life, that is only for the cause of Christ? What is most important? Would sitting with Jesus make me a better girlfriend FOR JESUS, a better friend FOR JESUS, a better sister FOR JESUS, through Jesus, no scrolling, only promises. Thankfulness, gratefulness.
May our days be a continuous conversation with the risen Lord who desires our relationship and answers perfectly. May we open the Word in faith, knowing our souls NEED calibration (2 Peter 1:12). I don’t “need a break.” I don’t “need Netflix.” I need HIM. And I’m not going to “put Him off.” This being said, I know my Lord does not CONDEMN my Netflix watching… just reminds me that I would rather spend the time with Him.
I don’t need a plan or to busy myself with little details; I need to “pray without ceasing.”
I don’t need to “get on to the next thing” for sustenance. I need HIM for sustenance.
I wait upon the Lord, and eagerly ask the Holy Spirit to change me. And I worship and praise Him!
“If you have a conviction you haven’t given over, GIVE IT TO GOD.” Even– ESPECIALLY– when the voice of the enemy is telling you to hold on to it. The result, He promises, I’ve experienced, billions experience, is PURE JOY for His sake, and therefore my betterment.
And community and accountability IS IMPORTANT.
What are my priorities– what is funny to Jesus, used by Jesus, joys Jesus? May these things be on my lips. And oh, the amazing, sweet, unfathomably good news? He does not ask us to worry or wonder about these things– but rather to die to ourselves, to our trying, to give our lives to Him and submit to His working, that He would work in us.
He’s not praising my work or my self righteousness– we can put down the productivity for its own sake and take the Gospel as Jesus hands it to us.
First we “Mary,” then, through Jesus, we “Martha.”
Pride is at the heart of both only being filled/spending a whole life SITTING, and at the heart of thinking our servanthood is king, or relying on “feeling accomplished, busy, or talented”
We aren’t called to be affirmed in SELF. Rather, everything we do is meant to be a response to what Jesus has ALREADY DONE.