Today's post was written by Mindy Chambers, a BH member who leads a Singles 20s/30s Women's Small Group.
In Psalm 23:2, David sang, “He makes me lie down in green pastures,” and we see stillness, a thought-provoking description of our relationship with God. Conversely, when David sings, “He leads me beside still waters,” there is an active nature to that relationship, our moving and being lead. How do we maintain these two aspects of our relationship with God in relation to one another? We can’t be so busy in life that we neglect communion with God, but we also can't be so contemplative that we are of no use to Him. So what do we do?
I am drawn to Luke 10 because there is a moment when the 72 (those who were sent to share the gospel) return, and they are glowing! Illuminated with joy in their hearts and on their faces, they shared moments of their journey with Christ. They tell how even demons were subject to His name, and they can’t help but to run and tell Him about it.
But what does Christ say to them? He instructs them (and us) not to rejoice that these spirits are subject to them in His name; instead, they should be encouraged that their names are written in heaven. Essentially, He tells them that it is there that you will find true joy, and after reading those words, I pause. My heart is still, and what comes out of me is only a sigh…
This truth is the same for me. I feel it and know it to be true. Jesus is my security because all those great and awesome things that happen as I serve Him are not the point. Yes, God gets the glory. But what better news can we receive then to look at where our eternity lies knowing that we can rejoice in our eternal salvation?
And yet, I sigh, because what does my life usually look like? In that same chapter of Luke, I come to Mary and Martha in vs. 38-42.
“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
I am Martha. I imagine people are packed into Martha’s home. If I welcomed Christ into my home after the 72 returned, I’d be frantic too. Ask my roommate about my “deep clean” moods I get into. It only gets worse when we plan to have people over. But don’t blame Martha for being distracted; she’s not strange at all. What is strange is how Mary is not distracted. Her eyes are focused on Jesus, even though Martha blamed her for being lazy. Mary was so entrenched in Christ, and she wasn’t being negligent. She was choosing close fellowship with the Lord. Jesus rebuked Martha because He discerned that she was serving out of anxiety, not grace. Her desire for approval was dressed up to look like she was serving Christ, and her anxiety blinded her from the one thing that mattered-listening to Jesus, really listening. Mary was less concerned about anything else (including herself) and more enthralled with Jesus. I think that is the key.
Jesus asks us whom we are serving. That is where we can find balance. We should serve Jesus out of a selfless and completely abandoned spirit. We let the Holy Spirit lead us, and then we find God’s perfect harmony in our lives. Bruce Hindmarsh, professor of theology at Oxford University, says, “…God has given us just enough time to do what we need to do moment by moment to respond to him. And his grace is there; it is eternally present. Every moment is a sacrament where time touches eternity, and there is exactly enough time to do what God has called us to do.”
I realize now that God will restore me to the right balance for every moment as I seek to serve Him with my life. The promise is right there in the next verse of Psalm 23: “He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name sake” (vs.3).
For more on the discipline of serving, click here to listen to Dennis Blythe's sermon from this past Sunday on "Serving for the Sake of the Gospel."