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 only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her." - Luke 10:38-42
If most of you are anything like me, I'm sure that you've read these verses of Scripture on some occasion and made a silent petition for the Lord to forgive the Martha in you, and make you more like Mary in your devotion to Him. However, much like Martha, the problem usually isn't our devotion itself, but it's our devotion to the wrong things.
I remember when I first began teaching a Bible Study class to 2yr olds at my church. Every week I was praying for God to prepare me for the class and to prepare the hearts of the children to be receptive of His Word and His love through me and the other teachers. About four years in I went from being Saint Chantelle to being a sister just trying to make it through the class!
Don't get me wrong, I hadn't lost my passion for the children. Nor had I lost my desire to serve God in the capacity for which I knew He has purposed me. I simply lost sight of why He had placed me in that class. I began to get so caught up in making sure that all of my tasks were done that most Sundays I hadn't realized that I had missed the most important task of all showing God's love to my little 2yr old angels.
Think about it. Can you recount some area of ministry where God has called you to serve or something that you know He has purposed you to do, and you start out with this whole hearted devotion to Him that slowly but surely became a going-through-the-motions type routine, with you showing no genuine dedication to His work, and no longer having any real expectations of Him? It is so easy to get caught up in the preparation of unnecessary or even necessary tasks that we end up missing out on opportunities to spend intimate moments with the Master altogether (Luke 10:40-41 NIV). Therefore, in our service to God it is vital that we not allow ourselves to get distracted by our devotion to the tasks that God has called us to complete.
God often chooses to use such tasks, not so that we should feel more worthy or righteous, but for the purpose of drawing us closer to Him. No matter what God calls us to do, or how much He calls us to do, our works will never make us righteous (Philippians 3:9). The glory that He receives is not in the work for which He has called us, but in His ability to work through us. During this process of spiritual growth our focus is to remain stayed on Him. We are to be ever decreasing (John 3:30), yielding to the Holy Spirit's complete control, so that through our labor others are being drawn to the Christ in us and not ourselves (John 12:32 NIV).
Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.. (Luke10:42 NIV). It is imperative that we not allow anything other than our desire for God Himself to hold our absolute attention. Anything else is a distraction. We must remain constant in our passionate pursuit of Him, allowing nothing and no one else to stand in the way of it. Rather than allowing frustration to take the reins, take a moment to pray, "Father give me the strength and wisdom to accomplish every task that you have ordered for me this day. Allow me to serve you in a way that makes your heart rejoice." In doing so, we come to the full understanding that it is not by might, nor by power, but by his Spirit that we are able to do all things through Jesus Christ, who is our sustaining strength (Zechariah 4:6; Philippians 4:13).
Now let us strive to devote ourselves to the true work of God- works of worship, intercession for others in prayer, and holy and righteous living before the God whom we have not only been called to serve, but represent. Let's represent Him well!
Father thank you that even when I lose sight of your purposes in the tasks that you have called me to complete, choosing to do things on my own, you are patient, loving, and gracious enough to gently draw me back to your side- regaining my focus and allowing me to see that you are the bigger picture. Thank you for giving me a heart to serve you in ways that honor and please you. In all of my doing may I never be too busy to take time out to share your love with those who need it most.