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Working or living

Updated on June 3, 2014
My favorite park bench in West Chester, PA
My favorite park bench in West Chester, PA | Source

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.”
Luke 10:38-42

A part of me really wants to side with Martha here. She’s working so hard to be a good host to Jesus. And all she seems to be asking is that Jesus to tell her sister, Mary, to help her with the housework. Martha is busy cooking, washing dishes, and cleaning - serving. On the outside she was being an exceptional host. All the while Mary is sitting at Jesus’ feet. I think that I might complain too if I were Martha. Wouldn’t you?

Jesus’ short answer speaks volumes. “One thing is necessary…”.

A few years ago someone asked me a very important question; he asked if I was working for God or living for Him. At the time, I was living for Him. I was just about to enter the mission field where I would spend the next couple of years. I was Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus I was soaking in everything He had for me. I could not get enough.

Somewhere in my journey I became more like Martha. I began to work for God. I fell into the trap that said that if I wasn’t working every single day the ministries I was involved with would collapse. Others would not respect me as a missionary. I would fail.

This is a very dangerous trap. It may appear harmless because while we are working we are accomplishing great things. What this trap does is take our focus off of the Savior while turning us into the false savior. This will always lead to burnout; it is a question of when, not if.

We must learn to be more like Mary and less like Martha. We need to accept that we cannot do it all. And if we want to be a good host to Jesus, it begins not in the busyness of our lives but with the rest in our hearts.

When is the last time that you carved time out of your busy schedule to sit at the feet of Jesus. I’m not talking about Sunday morning for 45 minutes, I’m talking throughout the week? Are you in the same trap that I was in? I have good news for you. There’s a way out! You don't have to stay there. Will you take 5 minutes today to sit and be still with Jesus? How about 10? 20? The rest of your day can wait.

© 2014 Ray Smith


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    • RayDSmith84 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ray Smith 

      4 years ago from West Chester, PA

      An interesting point. I picture Mary sitting there, definitely believing, but resting in that belief as well. There's a peace that comes when we let go of our busyness and take time to rest in the Savior. It's a much deeper thought than I had time to write last night though. I'm working on a new article on the topic of sabbath that will explore this concept.

    • profile image


      4 years ago from those of the Ekklesia

      John 6:28-29 (NKJV) states: 27 And they said to Him, " What shall we do , that we may work the works of God." 28 JESUS answered and said to them; " This is the WORK of God, that you BELIEVE in Him who He sent."

      Mary sat at Jesus feet listening to His teachings, because she BELIEVED in Him ( which is WORK). Therefore Mary was working TOO.

      Understanding context is important.


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