August 21st – Responsibility and Resting



Christians are always being cuffed about the ears by preachers and writers for their prayerlessness. ‘If only we prayed more and better:if only we gave God more time and stopped being so infernally busy and gave God a bit more of our attention, then the world, and we, would not be in such a mess. If only we were a bit more like Mary and less like Martha’ – so we are reprimanded: Mary sat and listened to Jesus:Martha was too busy getting dinner.
Let’s hear the Bible’s account of the incident.
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.”Luke 10: 38-40
Our sympathies are with Martha. We know how it feels when we are overworked and stressed out, while other people sit back and take it easy ‘Why don’t they come and help us?’.It’s even worse when we are rebuked and they are praised – the story continues …
“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: 41-42
That seems to add insult to injury. The lazy one is commended, the busy one gently chided. But it wasn’t for working, but perhaps for being over-fussy when one dish would have been enough for that occasion.So let me encourage you today, if you are by nature more like Martha than Mary. It’s true that most of the time we are too active and have no time to sit still with Jesus and pray, but Mary was not always right. Martha was not always wrong. Active people who shoulder the work of the world are preferred by God to the do-nothings who sit and dream. Jesus himself came not to be served, but to serve.It was on this occasion only that Martha got her priorities wrong and Mary got them right.At other times I’m so glad of the Marthas of this world, and so is God who made them that way.
A Prayer:
Help me Lord never to shirk my share of work, but also never to be too busy to sit at your feet and learn from you.
Now read Exodus Chapter 18.

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‘Every temptation is an opportunity of our getting nearer to God.’ (John Quiney Adams)

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