Being Versus Doing
By Jill Briscoe
Many of us remember the story of the time Jesus visited two sisters who were equally beloved of him but who represented two different kinds of Christians. “Martha,” the Scripture says, “was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made” (Lk. 10:40). She loved the “work of the Lord” more than the “Lord of the work’! Although she was very busy serving Him, this was not as He wished. At that particular moment, Jesus wanted her to be still, not frantic—worshiping, not worrying. “Martha, Martha,” He said, “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” (vv. 41—42). Mary represents the Christians among us who make little pools of stillness in the middle of their busyness and take time to find out just what it is Jesus wants them to learn. Mary knew what it meant to be a follower of Christ.
Every day you and I can choose whether to do like Martha or be like Mary. For those of us who love doing rather than being, it will be very hard to change our attitude. But change we must if we are to fulfill His plans for us and be fulfilled ourselves. Martha, for all her busy serving, was worried and upset. There was no peace in her heart. Jesus rebuked her for worrying about her activities, not the activity itself. When we are in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing as far as the Lord is concerned, there will be peace and serenity inside of us.
We must stop so much doing and practice being a child of God. Make it a top priority. As you spend time in God’s Word He will give you principles and pointers to help you understand your daily place and actions. For example, we are not to leave God out of the reckoning when we move, change our job, or do our business. We should listen to Him. We should, as James tells us, say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will do this or that.”
When Stuart and I got married, we put our time into God’s hands, and He put His will into ours. For three years we worked in the secular world—Stuart as a banker, me as a teacher. That was what God wanted us to do! Then God’s timing called for us to serve a youth mission. That was what God wanted us to do! So we moved from the city to the country. Ten years later God’s clock struck the hour for us to uproot, move across the Atlantic, and take the leadership of Elmbrook Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. That was what God wanted us to do! Thirty-four years later we are still here and for one reason only: That is what God wants us to do! God brought us here, and until He leads us out, as surely as He led us in, we will stay and do our best to fill our days with praise and service.
Where are you on the Mary/Martha spectrum? Be intentional this week about doing less and being more in His presence so you can listen to His voice and hear what it is that He wants you to do!
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