How many times have you been told to do the right thing? I think I can safely say that, for most of us, this was something that was engrained into our heads at an early age. Consciously and unconsciously, it has been one of the driving factors behind most of the decisions we’ve made in our lives.
I am a doer. I like to be constantly busy completing some kind of project or task, and I don’t sit still well. I never have. In accordance with my personality, I’ve always found ways to keep myself occupied with, what I considered to be, meaningful activities. Coming to college, I was floored by the number of service organizations and campus ministries, and I continued to do what I have always done—I dove in headfirst. (Admittedly, I am one of those people who is on just about every listserv on campus.) It was fun the first year when my classes were a bit less challenging, but this past school year, all of the good stuff that I was doing quickly became draining. I thought I was doing the right thing, and I just couldn’t understand why I was feeling so overwhelmed.
In the story of Mary and Martha, I have always empathized with Martha. A lot of my own qualities are very Martha-esque, so I understand her thoughts and can imagine her feelings.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
Picturing myself in Martha’s position, my jaw would just about be hitting the floor. I am doing the right thing. What do you mean that Mary’s choice was better? Lord, all of these things that I am busy doing are for you. Aren’t they?
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered…I feel like He has answered me this same way time and time again. And time and time again, as the stubborn human that I am, I have tried to justify that these were the right things to do. In reality though, I was busy getting the house ready, just like Martha.
I 100% believe that we are called to do the right thing and be of service to others, but I also believe that, beyond the volunteering and giving of ourselves, sometimes God just wants to be with us—wholly and entirely (without our minds racing about the million and one other things that we need to get done that day).
I call myself a Christian (Christ-like), which is a really bold statement. In doing so, shouldn’t it be obvious that I would be spending as much time as possible learning and being with the One whom I am claiming to be like? The more time I spend meditating on His word, the more unbelievable I find it that our awesome God chooses to use me to do His work here on earth. I cannot begin to fathom the wisdom of the Lord. So when I try to do the right thing, my actions align with the limits of my own good judgment. Spending more time with Jesus though allows me to discover that there is something better than simply doing the right thing. In my futile attempts to be a good person, I am often bogged down by the accompanying worry and anxiety of earthly works. But, when we take Christ’s yoke upon us, our burdens become light. (That’s because He has already done all of the heavy lifting.)
No matter the pace of my life, when I stop to take enough time to listen to God’s word and to realize its implications in my life, the activities that I am engaging in take on a new meaning. For me, it’s about never forgetting the who behind what I do.
Johnna Belkiewitz, Member of Impact Christian Fellowship