There is a story from the Gospels regarding good people and their frustrations. Did you know that nice people get frustrated? You do not even have to be involved with bad things to get irritated. In my Bible reading this morning I read the story of Martha and Mary. My heart went out to Martha. Here is how Luke records her conversation with Jesus:
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.” Luke 10:40
The first thing I notice from this passage is that Martha was distracted. What a great word to describe our world today. Look at the picture of the young man in this blog post. He has a Bible in one hand and his smartphone in the other. A true picture of our day and not just our day but my life as well. Martha was distracted by much serving according to the Bible. Why? How can that happen? Service is a part of our faith. We are His servants. Service is a big deal in the Kingdom of God. Service is hard. It takes effort and time. At times little to no appreciation is shown toward the one doing the serving. When you are serving you realize the hard work that goes into things behind the scenes and yet most just show up and never give a thought to how much work went into making everything comfortable for them.
When does service go wrong?
When we forget who we are serving! Service must come from a desire to serve the Lord who has showered us with His grace and mercy.
When we expect people to give us accolades. It is nice to be appreciated, but service has at its heart the idea of serving without reward.
When we serve with ulterior motives. If we are serving the Lord to be noticed and singled out for greater appreciation we will be at times disappointed. It is lovely to be thanked and appreciated. We serve out of hearts of gratitude to God and leave the rest with Him. Reality check: When was the last time you thanked the custodian at church for keeping the building clean? When was the last time you thanked Bible study/home group leaders for their time and for opening their homes? Appreciation is a two-way street!
Somehow our service becomes sour when we become distracted rather than keeping the focus on Christ. Martha had another problem as well, she wanted her sister to help her serve. When one feels they are being loaded down with things to do and then witness a care-free soul soaking in the Words of Jesus, it causes one to get irritated. Martha’s complaint ultimately goes to the old feeling: “doesn’t Jesus care about me?” Here I am doing all of this for you, the least you could do is to tell Mary to get up and come into the kitchen and help. Martha has identified one of our major problems. We want people to help us and are resentful when they don’t even though we signed up for the assignment. Jesus tells Martha only one thing is required. What only one thing? Yes, Jesus said and that is what Mary has chosen. The one thing: Sitting at His feet! Our faith is not performance based it is worship based! If your service springs from a sense of obligation and duty you will be miserable. Our service must come from our devotion to and love for Christ! Tired of serving? Try sitting at His feet until His joy and grace and mercy overwhelm you to the point of saying I will serve you because I love you!