Hi friends, have you had time to sit still this week and wait for His presence? I’ve been pausing to ponder these questions:
How can we apply ‘be still‘ to serving and how do we remain at rest, at ease and calm; when we’re active, moving and working? And can our hearts be anchored still, in the midst of running feet and busy hands?
Today, as we look at a familiar passage, we’ll see how close relationship with Christ enables us to serve with a heart free from striving; quiet and still.
“And a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.” And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” [Luke 10:38-42]
Jesus makes it clear that one sister’s actions are good, even better. Mary chose the good part (or as the NIV reads), “Mary has chosen what is better.” [v.42]
I want to live life choosing the better way.
Yet, let’s not overlook the beautiful attributes of Martha. A dedicated disciple; she devoted due diligence to her domestic abilities and sought to serve the Lord with them. Opening wide the doors of her home to welcome Jesus in; other’s were able to open wide their hearts and commune in Christ’s presence. (Lazarus reclined, Mary sat at His feet.)
However, Martha was distracted with much serving [v.40].
What began with good intentions, became misplaced amongst what mattered most. Distracted with much serving, Martha expressed her frustration. She gave precedence to house preparations and lost sight of the one needed and necessary thing.
The one needed thing.
The one necessary thing.
Worried about all the work, Martha demanded her sister help out. Martha was on her feet laboring, while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening – it only seemed fair that Mary contribute, lend a hand and lighten the load. Right?
Preoccupied with practical preparations, Martha forgot the spiritual – the one thing needed.
And hey, in all reality, who hasn’t felt like Martha? Serving others, yet feeling so alone in the work. But listen. The one needed and necessary thing is what keeps us from giving vent to misguided assertions. “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?” [v.40]
And what is the one needed thing? Follow Mary’s heart to the feet of Jesus and there we’ll find…
Abiding is the solution,
to keep us from striving and serving
in our own strength.
There’s an education here, which no schooling, sermon or seminary can provide. Mary heard the Word – taught straight from the Word Himself. Her posture spoke much about her dependance.
And dependance will make us still in His presence. You see, humility sits in the heart of stillness. And it takes humility to acknowledge our need for Him – even in the small moments of life.
Mary acknowledged Christ’s power on a personal level. And friends, that changes everything. Intimacy shifts our perspective, from me to He, when we serve. Instead of serving in our own strength (because ours is limited), we learn to lean on His.
Deeper intimacy with God will deepen our trust – in God. And trust produces rest. How wonderful to serve our families, communities and friends, with a calm and quiet heart. Doing the one thing needed will make our spirit refreshing to others.
How many days come and go, where we feel weak, worn and weary. Striving in our strength to meet life’s responsibilities and we end our days feeling spent. But..
Time spent at the feet of Jesus –
strengthens ours to carry out His calling.
The world’s system says to get more; we must do more, be more, produce more. But God’s ways are always reverse – the upside down principle. The more we withdraw, abandon our lists, step away, listen and be still; somehow it’s as if time stretches and allows us to be more productive and fruitful. And..
Somehow the rest gets done –
when we set-aside time for the one needed thing:
to come aside, sit beside
and rest still, along side His Word.
A house full of guests – and Martha’s heart was of full angst. If Christ fed thousands with five small barley loaves and two small fish, with baskets full of leftovers [John 6:8-13]; surely He could handle meeting Martha’s needs for dinner that night.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you,
that you, always having all sufficiency in all things,
may have an abundance for every good work. [II Cor.9:8]
Properly placed priorities leads our hearts to the one needed thing. Instead of serving frantically and putting wrong expectations on others, let’s follow Mary and sit at the Savior’s feet; hearing the Word that stills and satisfies our souls.
Intimacy moves us from knowing in our head, to knowing with our heart – that HE IS GOD. This knowing settles us secure to rest in His providence and trust His perfectly timed provisions – practically, spiritually and emotionally.
We may have limited time to sit still and listen, but when we arise, we can continue communing with Christ, because His presence goes with us.
“My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” [Exodus 33:14]
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” [Psalm 37:7]
For Part 1, visit here:
For Part 2, visit here:
For Part 3, come here:
For Part 4, click here:
For Part 5, click here:
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Next week, we conclude the series with a wrap-up and summary.
Wonderful series, Jess! Very profound, truthful and encouraging!