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.”
Have you ever been in a place where you feel like the busier & more scheduled you are, the more you are spending your time wisely & honoring God? Are you one of those people that has a hard time sitting still & just resting because you feel lazy? I am guilty of both charges. A professor here at Northland calls it "The Busy Badge of Honor." Dr. Fellars spoke on this topic last spring (you can hear the message here, I highly recommend it!), but I hadn't really thought about it too much until this semester. Those of you in college understand how hectic & impossible the schedule can get; for me there are almost no free moments from the time I get up at 6 am until I go to bed at midnight...or later if there's homework. Between the 6 classes I have back to back on Tuesday & Thursday, 2-3 classes each Monday, Wednesday, & Friday; piles of homework; 10 hours of music practice per week; work study; weekend church extension, & other responsibilities, I felt burnt out. I hit a wall last week. Although I was doing my devotions & praying each morning, & sitting under AMAZING preaching of God's word each morning in chapel, I felt SO dry spiritually. I didn't understand!! What am I doing wrong?!! ...doing, doing, doing, doing.....& doing some more. I was so focused on what I needed to get done, how well I was doing it, what I needed to do next, that I had compartmentalized my relationship with the Lord into those moments I spent with Him in the morning. And let me tell you, if you are just "devoted" from 7-8 in the morning & then go the rest of the 16-18 hours you spend awake without being aware of the fact that God is your strength & without him you can do nothing, you WILL hit a wall. And I did...big time. I was never available for my friends & fellow classmates when they needed me, I was exhausted, considering dropping the extra class I had taken on, I was crying almost every day. Not a fun place to be. Then the Lord did what He always does & gave me just what I needed to hear.
Last Wednesday night, Coach Wehry spoke in campus church on the Lord's strength. More specifically, the Lord is our strength. Every Wednesday at campus church, Coach Wehry picks an attribute of God & we sing songs focusing on that particular attribute & then go around the room & many students read a verse or two about that attribute. It is an incredible blessing each time, but last week it was more. Coach gave a short challenge about how each of us need to rely on the Lord's strength for each avenue of our daily life. It isn't just for when "big" trials come. I know that I sometimes find myself believing the lie that God doesn't want to be bothered with the little things. SO not true!
Psalm 68:19 says "Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation". Notice, it doesn't say, blessed be the Lord, who sometimes bears us up when he feels like it. Or, who bears us up when we have something really bad happen, but otherwise, you're on your own! Nope---Daily. Psalm 28:7 "The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him." I was so exhausted & spiritually dry because I was trying to be good enough on my own & accomplish everything in my own strength. (P.S. We'll talk about the whole "trying to be good enough" thing soon too....didn't turn out so hot! Lol. But I learned another big lesson =). Jesus even says in John 15:5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." Did you catch that last part? N O T H I N G. When you picture a vine, that is where the fruit gets all of its nourishment. It is constantly connected; the fruit doesn't just fall to the ground to do its own thing & then come back onto the vine when it needs nutrients. If the fruit falls away, it shrivels up & dies....which I think we all can agree that this is a fate most of us would like to avoid =)
So to summarize; I'm not telling you to drop all of your responsibilities & just be still & sit around all the time, not at all! What I am telling you is this; rely on the Lord's strength. Prioritize what's important & always be mindful of His presence in whatever you are doing. Homework, talking with a friend, anything. Be open for the Lord's use & be willing to stop what you're doing to just be still & know that He is God. One last thing for all of you Bible College students out there; don't get so busy preparing for ministry that you miss opportunities to minister now. The Lord will give you opportunities to share the love of Christ & be selfless in sacrificing your precious studying time. I know it's hard, but it is SO worth it. Be a Mary, not a Martha =)