Christ Your life

MARY AND MARTHA

A most inconvenient truth is that the busiest persons in a church can be the least spiritual and most resistant to God. Why? Because they are living out of self-effort.

There are lovers and workers. Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.’ But we are too often convinced that we are, or that something we do is. Paul wrote passionately ‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ Gal. 2.20 (NIV).

Paul, the one time legalist and religious aficionado was totally besotted with Christ and lived in Him. He was a friend of God. Hence his creative wisdom and fruitfulness. But this is not all. Living in Christ was not something Paul ‘worked up.’ Christ was incarnated in Paul as was the entirety of God.

In his book on
holiness and creativity, Bill Johnson writes, ‘Mary sought to please Jesus by being with Him, while Martha tried to please Him through service. When Martha became jealous, she asked Jesus to tell Mary to help in the kitchen. Most servants want to degrade the role of friend to feel justified in their works-oriented approach to God. Jesus’ response is important to remember: “Mary has chosen the better part.” Martha was making sandwiches that Jesus never ordered. Doing more for God is the method servants use to increase in favour. A friend has a different focus entirely. They enjoy the favour they have and use it to spend time with their Friend.

‘To say we need both Mary’s and Martha’s is to miss the point entirely. And it simply isn’t true. I’ve heard it said that nothing would ever get done if we did not have Martha’s. That too is a lie. That teaching comes mostly from servants who are intimidated by the lifestyle of friends. Mary wasn’t a non-worker. She just learned to serve from His Presence, only making the sandwiches Jesus ordered. Working from His Presence is better than working for His presence. There are lovers and workers and lovers get more done [for the Kingdom of God] than the workers.’