Years ago, I had a powerful dream that I believe was given by God to get my attention. In this dream, the church I was serving and a very large and famous church 30 miles down the road were both hosting the same guest at the same time, and my job was to find seating for everyone at both churches. I was putting people in the oddest places, for example, the rafters, the ledge near the sound room balcony, and places like this; everyone wanted to see the guest! By the time I was done, I was exhausted, and I completely missed out on the guest. I woke up and asked my dad what this could mean, and he said “I don’t know, Martha, what guest could be with two congregations of the Church (note the big “C”) in two locations at the same time?” And I very much am like Martha, who, while making herself busy, missed out on Jesus while her sister Mary sat at His feet.
As I’m writing this, I feel like most of my morning has been wasted. I’m nursing a massive headache, and I feel as if my head is in a fog. I’m not sick or showing any symptoms of anything, but I know with a fairly reasonable assertion that it’s exhaustion. I’m not aiming for sympathy here (though I covet your prayers), but I know what’s going on. While I do take a day off each week, I have not taken any time off to rest, recuperate, reenergize and recharge. I used to go on one or two conferences and leadership seminars a year, using the opportunity to also rest, but now it seems that whatever I do and whenever I do it, it’s all about doing the work and not about sitting at the feet of Jesus. Don’t get me wrong, the Lord refreshes me, but I fall back in to that habit of making things about the work of the Gospel and not Jesus Himself, and this is not a safe place to be.
Jesus chided Martha for complaining that Mary was not helping her, but Jesus said that Mary had chosen “what is best, and it will not be removed from her.” In this way, I am encouraged this morning, even though I feel as if I’ve wasted it: choose what is best. Sit at Jesus feet and listen. Rest in His presence. Don’t worry about what you should have, would have or could have done. It is safest close to Jesus. He knows where the best place is to be, which, by the way, is not fretting over the work. If we are close to Him, He will provide the work, but He will also provide the rest.
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.”
At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”