I’m going to start today’s blog off on a tangent, which is never really good writing, but here we go anyway. One thing I dearly love is how God seems to orchestrate themes among His people. I think a phrase would be “I guess it’s in the water”, maybe you’ve heard that, where everyone you talk to on a certain day just happens to be craving Ice Cream or something like that. The reason I love when this happens spiritually is because to me it works as a confirmation that I’m on the right track. I’ll write a lesson for my class at church and then the next Friday night the young adult’s pastor will preach on something similar and then that Sunday morning our pastor will preach on something similar. It doesn’t happen all the time, and it doesn’t have to happen all the time, but when it does happen it feels like this little nod from the Lord that says yes, you’re all on track, you’re all hearing from me, and that yes, this was an important subject that I wanted all of my people to hear about/learn about this week.
All that said, where we happen to be today in the book of Luke lines up perfectly with things discussed at my church just last night by our worship pastor, and things that I’ve been talking to people about a lot lately. Let’s just jump in and read it.
Luke 10:38-40 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
We’re going to pause there for tangent number two of today’s blog. This one has been on my heart really heavily lately. Don’t compare yourself to other people. It’s great advice in general, and CRITICAL advice for those who are following Jesus. Comparisons kill. They kill unity, they kill joy, and they kill love. Why? Many reasons, but mainly because comparisons almost always become criticisms, either of ourselves or the person we’re comparing ourselves to.
I feel like this is really important because I see an epidemic of comparison in the faith right now. “I may only read my bible once a week, but so and so hasn’t read his bible in months.” That comparison just killed unity and love, and it also lets you off the hook for not reading your Bible enough. “I serve twice as much in ministry as they do and yet still they complain.” So what? You’re responsible for you, and you just turned the fact that you serve God into a complaint and a negative thing, robbing yourself of blessings. Personally, I do a lot for the kingdom of God. I get a great return for my service. I don’t need to compare what I do against anyone, because it doesn’t matter. The only thing we should ever compare ourselves to is the Bible. Am I lining up with the word? If yes, then good, continue on. If no, then make adjustments and continue on.
Honestly evaluate yourself and see if you’re doing a lot of comparing these days. If so, pray about it. I really feel like comparisons and criticisms of others inside the church are really dampening a lot of people’s fire and growth.
Let’s get back to Jesus and see what his response was to Martha’s complaints about her sister.
Luke 10:41-42 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
As a society we are so obsessed with all of our activities and plans, aren’t we? Most of the people I know are the busiest and most anxious group of humans around. And here’s Jesus saying “there is only one thing worth being concerned about”. And that one thing was him. All the things that matter are wrapped up in Jesus. Love, helping others, holiness, goodness, companionship, joy, purpose, purity, wisdom, freedom, the list goes on and on. We think that we have to seek these things outside of Jesus and that’s not the case. The outside versions are temporary, but the Jesus versions are eternal. He’ll guide us to friends, to missions, to loving others, to true joy and goodness.
The thing is, it’s not like Martha was sinning with what she was doing. Welcoming Jesus into your home and preparing a big dinner for him and his disciples is a beautiful thing! What a way to honor him and love on him. There were zero issues with what she was doing, it’s what was in her mind and her heart that was the problem. She was stressing over it, worrying, and comparing/criticizing her sister who wasn’t stressing and worrying over the same thing. I think it’s important not just to see Jesus’ response here, but to see that we can get anxious and obsessed with good things just as quickly as we can with bad things. You can be so caught up in worrying about the benefit lunch you’re running after church that you miss the pastor’s entire message or don’t hear the Holy Spirit prompting you to pray for someone.
In a society that is busier than ever and in a modern American church that can often glorify busyness and make religious busyness a measuring stick for holiness, this reaction from Jesus is really important for us to wrap our heads around. In two verses, Jesus destroys the idea of extreme busyness and anxious living. He shows us that there’s always time to slow down and appreciate Jesus. The big dinner can wait. The movie can be paused. The hangout can be rescheduled. Make time for Jesus, the only thing truly worth being concerned about.
I sure love all of you. I hope that everyone is doing great and it’s my prayer that you’re daily deepening and growing your relationship with the Lord. I hope you all have a safe and wonderful fourth of July tomorrow!
If you’ve got any prayer requests or need to talk to someone, my email is always open to you at firstname.lastname@example.org