Personal blog detailing the perspective of life and ministry that Christ Jesus my Savior has given me.
One of the difficulties that many people in ministry face is the balance between being active in the work of the Lord and being too busy doing the work of the Lord. For some, a schedule filled with many hours of work gives them a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. For others, being personally involved in every ministry possible gives them a sense of accomplishment. While the work of the ministry is very important, we must not fail to see the greater picture. It is not being busy in ministry that makes us successful, but rather how productive we are in ministry. Too often, people in ministry think busy and productive are the same thing. However, they truly are very different.
As I began my life in ministry back in 2006, I found myself desiring more than anything to fill my schedule so that my Pastor would realize how awesome it was to have me on his staff. While that may not have been my true attitude, it certainly seemed as if that is what I was striving for. At the end of the day or even the "business week", I began to realize that with all the items on my busy schedule, I was not really producing for the Lord or His work. I was beginning to notice that being busy in ministry had taken me away from producing for my Lord.
During this time, the Lord took me to a familiar passage in Luke 10:38-42. In this passage, we see the account of Martha hosting a dinner for Jesus and being very busy as she prepared the house, the food, the dishes and anything else that would make for a successful dinner. Meanwhile, Martha's sister Mary, who was supposed to be helping do the work, was found at Jesus' feet. One woman was busy. The other woman was productive. It was from this passage that the Lord showed me four thoughts that challenged me to ask myself I am too busy for the most important thing:
1. Martha's busyness led to her bitterness (10:40) - We see in verse 40 that Martha was very busy. The Bible uses the word "cumbered" to describe her work. The word "cumbered" means "to drag around; to distract (with care)". You see, it was not that Martha was doing anything wrong. In fact, she was active in serving the Savior. But the Bible says that she was distracted because of it. When she lost sight of the most important thing, she got mad at her sister and even complained to Christ about it. Her being busy about the work led to her being aggravated with her sister.
The challenge I received from this was that I should not get so busy in the work that I begin to resent those that I am to be serving with. Many times, we have thoughts about how important we are to the work and how much more we do than anyone else. Unfortunately, Satan loves to take our busy work in the ministry and turn it into bitter work. When I lose sight of the "one thing", I open the door for distraction and allow Satan to plant a root of bitterness. This results in being busy, but certainly not productive.
2. Martha made a name for herself (10:41) - After Martha complained to Jesus in verse 40 about her sister, we see Christ respond to Martha by calling her name twice. It was as if Christ was expressing disappointment with Martha because she had lost sight of the "one thing". I am sure in her heart, Martha desired to have Christ call her name. Maybe she even though that if she did a great job serving that Christ would notice and tell everyone about how incredible a servant she was. However, Christ called out her name to help her realize that she was simply distracted in all of her busy work. She had missed the greatest part of the dinner.
Too often in ministry we find ourselves trying to make a name for ourselves instead of proclaiming the name of Christ. We think that we have accomplished great things if we can be as busy as possible. We even think that if we can stay busy, the Pastor or the church people will notice and will tell everyone how good of a servant I am. The reality is that if we maintain that attitude, we do more harm to the work of the Lord than good.
3. Your vocation means nothing if your location is wrong (10:39, 40, 42) - As the title suggests, there is "one thing" that is more important than everything. While the passage is literally talking about Mary sitting at Jesus' feet and listening to Him speak, the challenge that I received from the passage was that I must find myself in the presence of the Savior BEFORE I ever attempt to be busy about His work. While Martha was doing important things, she failed to see that the greatest thing was to focus on the Savior.
As I look back over my time in ministry, I can regretfully see instances where I was too focused on the serving instead of the Savior. I wonder how many ministries are being hindered today because those in ministry are "cumbered about" with much serving. Again, the serving was not the problem for Martha. It was that she was distracted by the serving that created the problem. We must not let our "job" come before we have met with Jesus.
4. Choose the good part, not just what is expected (10:42) - In verse 42, Jesus tells Martha that Mary chose the most important thing. It was not that Mary was forced into sitting at Jesus' feet. It wasn't that Martha was forced into doing all the work. It comes down to a choice. It is a choice between being busy in the work and being present with the Savior. It is a choice for each of us to make. We can look at the ministries we serve in and get frustrated, bothered, and exhausted or we can choose to seek Christ's presence and be productive in His work. The choice is simply ours to make.
While each of us have different roles in ministry and different ministry sizes that we are involved in, it is important to realize the difference between Martha and Mary. Serving in the work of the Lord is valuable and will impact eternity. We must all be about the Father's business. However, let us all make sure that we first choose the "one thing" over the busy thing.