Martha, Martha... When will we learn?
Growing your relationship with Christ
I over slept again. I had a long night of replying to e-mails, doing work that I didn’t get a chance to do during the day because I was working for my sister, and having a conference call with my Minister’s in Training Group. I wake up and immediately think about the scripture text for the day I need to send to my friends and family; since I overslept, I am late and yep…there it is, the ding of a text message from a friend asking if everything is o.k. with me since I haven’t sent today’s text. I find the text, send it out and immediately rush to get dressed to go work with my sister again, all the while taking breaks to respond to e-mails that are coming in from people asking for my feedback on whichever project I have committed myself. I write reminders for myself for the devotional I need to write, the agenda for the ministry meeting I will be having soon, and preparing notes for the mission trip that my church will be embarking upon in 2013. In the day of my life…what did I forget?
“Martha, Martha” the Lord answered…
No matter how hard I try, no matter how many reminders I set or the promise I make to God, I simply struggle with being Martha. I get so caught up in doing all the things/tasks of my life, including ministry, that I simply forget to spend time with Him for myself.
“You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.”
When I first read this biblical account (and several times after), I agreed with Martha. Mary needed to get up and work. And, just like Martha, I would have been quick to point it out. Yet Mary had it right all along. You can do nothing without first being in the presence of the Master. Even Jesus recognized the need to do this. Throughout the New Testament we are given accounts of Christ rising early to spend time with the Father or separating Himself to be in counsel and conversation with God.
As much as I love the Lord and try to dedicate my mornings to Him or even times throughout the day, unless I am diligent about it, I find myself focusing on everything that I need to do or take care of versus spending the most important moments with Him. Yet just as Christ pointed out to Martha and continually points out to me, the most important time spent during my day is the time I spend with Him. Everything else is second fiddle, including doing ministry. Christ understood that when we don’t slow down to be in His presence, our days become fruitless instead of fruitful.
“Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
It is a daily struggle for me and I do mean daily to turn myself from Martha into Mary, but I am being made over into a new creature in more ways than one. And guess what? I am not the one doing it. The Spirit is. How many of you struggle with that just as I do? I suspect more do than do not in our always “on”, always accessible, always catching up society.
Yet in order to have a relationship with Him, it takes concentrated effort on our parts to sit still and simply be at His feet and listen to Him as He engages us in conversation. This week, on one of my FB acquaintances pages, someone posted about their being at the gym at 5 am. However, the ironic thing is that he also posts about being at the gym at 9 pm, at 5 pm, on Saturdays and Sundays. He is passionate about bodybuilding and it is reflected in his physique. As I read that post last week, it dawned on me just why I struggle so much with losing weight again. You see, I am not that dedicated to it. I once was. The same can be said about our spiritual lives and our relationships with Christ. The prayers and the bible study that you did last week or even last year, will not get you through today. A relationship with Christ takes time spent daily, a daily dose of “I love you”, and a committed and diligent effort to nourish that relationship-daily. The work we put into our relationship with Him will then be reflected in our emotional and spiritual physique.
So although I am Martha (which definitely has a time and place), I am becoming Mary as well (which is necessary every day). My relationship with Christ requires it. Doesn’t yours?