Woah… Slow Down!

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Is it just me, or does the word “busy” define life right now? It seems like everyone (including me) is so… well, busy. So, let’s take a moment, slow things down a bit, and evaluate what is really going on here.

It seems as though a lot of us are all caught-up in the same sort of activities. From work, to school, homework, household chores, caring for the family, grocery shopping, car check-ups, soccer practice, trips to the mall, not to mention ministry opportunities and church activities, phew… we are a busy people. But, the question I would like for us to look at is whether we are all busy with the right sort of activities?

Well, if you can relate at all to the “laundry-list” (no pun intended) of responsibilities above, then take heart. I recently read something that encouraged me & I pray that it might be of encouragement to you as well. In her book, Idols of the Heart: Learning to Long for God Alone, Elyse Fitzpatrick uses the biblical illustration of two sisters, Martha & Mary, to address the question that we have posed above. She looks at the issues of the heart that may underly our compulsion for busy-ness and help us clear-out some time in our schedules for the right sort of activities (p. 32-33):

As the Lord lovingly looked into His distraught servant’s face, He said, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her’ (Luke 10:41-42).

I don’t think I’ve ever met a Christian woman for whom Christ’s words weren’t piercingly convicting. It seems that serving in material ways is for some reason easier and more rewarding than sitting at the Lord’s feet, listening to Him. Why is that? Does this inclination indicate a problem with our worship? Our love? And what is that ‘good part’ that Mary had chosen and Martha and many of us miss?

Have you ever met anyone who was too devoted to the Lord, who was too focused on loving Him? I haven’t. In fact, I don’t think it is possible. As Richard Baxter says, ‘Infinite goodness cannot possibly be loved too much.’ I’m not talking about being devoted in some mystical way that precludes responsible living. I’m talking about the difficulty when we try to focus our daily lives, moment by moment, on loving, worshiping, and serving the Lord–on sitting at His feet…

Even in my Christian ministry responsibilities, it’s possible for me to worship gods of my own making… gods of my reputation, my plans for the day, my ideas. Its easy to get so frustrated and caught up in serving the Lord that I forget to love and worship Him. It’s during those times that I begin to think, like Martha, that God doesn’t care about me. The truth about His love and sacrificial care is clouded by my plans and desires. [I can totally relate to this 😦 ]

Martha’s problem isn’t unique… Why is it so easy for us to get weighted down and entrapped? It’s because, as John Calvin said, our hearts manufacture other gods…

Exodus 20:3 says, ‘You shall have no other gods before Me.’ In this simple statement the Lord God, Creator of the heavens an earth, directs our entire focus and destiny. our response to these eight short words, so seemingly inconsequential, influence every facet of our lives, now and eternally. Is the one needful thing that Mary found and Martha missed encapsulated in this terse command? Did Martha have another god before Jehovah?” (p. 32-33)

I submit these same questions to us all: in our busy-ness, is it possible that we are striving to serve a god other than the true & living God? I must confess that I am well aware of the fact that, at times, like Elyse, I too can get so caught-up in trying to impress others or even myself (i.e. my schedule, my plans, my pride) that I also loose sight of who I really ought to be serving. But, with this realization comes GREAT hope!!!

God promises that, for those who confess their sins, He is faithful & just to forgive us of our sins. Not only that, but He also promises to cleanse us from our sins too (1 John 1:9). So, whenever I find myself getting caught-up in the busy-ness of life, it is helpful for me to re-evaluate my schedule (item by item, if necessary) to determine which activities I am scheduling out of a heart of love & service to God. For those activities, which I am scheduling for other reasons (i.e. wanting to please others, seeking the approval of others, seeking opportunities to boast in my accomplishments, seeking control over my schedule & others, etc), I need to confess them before the Lord. Then, I need to ask for His forgiveness for serving gods of my own making instead of serving Him. Lastly, I need to prayerfully & humbly consider removing those activities from my schedule, which do not bring glory & honor to Him.

I would strongly encourage anyone else, who may be caught-up in the “Martha Syndrome”, to do the same! There is so much blessing that can come from deliberately choosing to only pursue activities that bring glory & honor to God. Also, it will free-up otherwise wasted time for you to devote to other things… like “sitting at the Lord’s feet.” 🙂

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About Elizabeth

I am a sinner, saved by grace striving to increase in the knowledge of my Savior and His precious Word each day. The reader should know that there are a few presuppositions with which I approach this blog: 1) I believe in the biblical gospel, which basically purports that all mankind is born under the curse of sin (due to the sin of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden). Therefore, man is separated from God and can have no relationship with God because He is perfectly holy, not even able to look upon sin. Unfortunately, God is also perfectly just and must not only separate Himself from sin, but must also punish it. In order to reconcile man to Himself, God, the Father, sent God, the Son, down to earth to live as a man and take our sins upon Himself on the cross. While on the cross, God, the Son, bore the full weight of the wrath of God, the Father, against our sins in order that we who believe in Him might be set free from the curse of our sin. God, the Son, Jesus Christ, died as a propitiation for our sin in order to appease God, the Father's, holy and just character, redeem us from sin, and reconcile those who believe in this gospel to God, the Father. 2) I am primarily writing to those who already believe in this biblical gospel. In other words, this blog is not focused on evangelizing the lost, but edifying believers. 3) I believe that the Christian Bible is the very word of God. Therefore, it is completely inerrant, infallible, sufficient, and authoritative in the life of a believer.
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4 Responses to Woah… Slow Down!

  1. Geoff says:

    Babe,

    Great post and great insights from the text. I love you. Have fun in FLA

  2. St. Louis Mom says:

    Wow, Elizabeth, what an excellent post! Very convicting for me personally, and I am motivated to get that book by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Everything you said deserves much thought and reflection. I have many things to take before the Lord. Thank you for allowing the Holy Spirit to use you so powerfully in my life!
    Love you!!

  3. Mom says:

    Just refound your blog, sweetie, after my computer crash last month. As Diane says above, very convicting for me personally and I have many things to take before the Lord! I hate when He uses my children to speak to me – maybe because He knows how very effective that is and how my sin nature doesn’t want to hear it.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Praise God!!! 🙂

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