Think about the times when you’re exhausted or completely drained and empty; during those times you have nothing else to give to anyone or anything.. What does that feel like? My guess is that you feel resentment. You resent something or someone. Martha resented her sister Mary when Jesus was visiting their home. Martha was busy being the perfect hostess, making sure that everybody had everything that they needed, running around making sure that everybody was happy. Mary, on the other hand was spending time listening to Jesus. Martha was upset.
Luke 10:38-40 (NKJV) 38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me."
To Martha it was like “Jesus, don’t you care that my sister isn’t helping me? After all I’m trying to prepare for you and your disciples.”
How does Jesus respond?
Luke 10:41-42 (NKJV) 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."
Instead of shaking your fist at the world and those around you because you have worked yourself into a lather or continuing to complain that you don’t have any help, maybe it’s time to sit and spend some time with God meditating on His word. We all, me included, want to get it all done right now and if nobody is there to help us we become resentful, not realizing that we are the ones putting the pressure on ourselves to get it all done. The answer may just be to let whatever it is you’re doing wait or even go undone until you spend some time in a quite undisturbed conversation with Jesus.
Psalm 119:15 (NKJV) I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways.
Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV) 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Think back to a time when your life was simpler. You were rested, creative, playful, and prayerful. It’s possible to recapture that time.
“We must release everything to Him. We can't keep anything.”
Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV) Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'
Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV) For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
“That's hard and we can't do that within ourselves.''
We can only do it through the Holy Spirit. I'm praying that you can continue to stay strong. That you really allow the Holy Spirit to hold you. Let go and trust everything to God.”
1 Peter 5:10 (NKJV) But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
Editor’s Note: The following includes edited excerpts from the book The Bright Life by Jen Wise
When we were young our faith felp simpler. We knew that God loved us. We knew that Jesus provided forgiveness of our sins. We knew that the Holy Spirit lives in us. That was enough.
We never felt that our prayers needed to impress. We just knew we could open our hearts to God. We never questioned if God hears our prayers, if our prayers matter, or God’s providence. We just knew He wanted to hear from us, He cared. Simple.
We didn’t question God’s forgiveness. We never wondered if God really loved us — of course He did, He said He did. We never wondered if He would forgive us — of course He did, He said He would.We knew that we weren’t perfect, but knew we were perfectly loved. Perfectly forgiven and made clean. Simple.
But somewhere along the line though things changed. We run into harsh realities about other people’s expectations, we come face-to-face with strange and conflicting opinions, we find ourselves under all sorts of pressure to perform and perfect someone else’s version of a Christian life. Suddenly it’s not so simple anymore. We enter adulthood with a heavy load of spiritual baggage, struggling to carry the weight of it all.
Just resting in God’s love and forgiveness doesn’t cut it anymore. We hear that;
- A good Christian needs to begin every morning with extended Bible study and prayer.
- A good Christian needs to be in church several days a week, serving on multiple volunteer teams, and chasing offering that promises to be deep.
- A good Christian knows and uses Christian jargon, memorizes loads of Scripture, and is comfortable praying out loud in front of church groups.
- A good Christian always smiles, never yells, always gives, and never gets tired of it.
We’ve made faith too complicated
We may even deceive ourselves into thinking that our spiritual life is deeper, more holy, if we attend all of the events, learn all of the theology, and master the art of thoughtful prayers for every occasion. But we couldn’t be more wrong.
When the disciples were arguing over who would rank highest in God’s kingdom Jesus said;
Matthew 18:2-5 MSG For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.
Remember when we weren’t obsessed with proving ourselves? Remember when we didn’t worry about whether we were doing enough to keep God happy? Remember when we could rest in God’s love without a mental tick list of religious to-dos? We can return to those simpler times, simpler ways. We can return to square one.
This doesn’t mean that we should halt any “religious” related activities. Volunteering in our churches, serving meals to the hungry, studying our Bibles — these are all good things. These are enriching and natural practices in the Christian life. But when we try to place our security, value, and our identity as God’s children in our ability to keep up a routine, rather than in Christ alone, we’re carrying a burden too great, never intended for us. And all of this heavy lifting doesn’t amount to anything in the end.
In fact, 1 Corinthians 13 reminds us that we can keep up our religious routine, impress our peers, teach Scripture, feed the poor, and yet if our actions are rooted in just that, actions, it’s all worthless. We will never find rest in the routine. We will never find peace in these practices.
1 Corinthians 13:13 MSG But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
Simplicity is a gift of God.
A gift given so that we might see the value in seeking Him first in all things. Faith, hope, and love. It’s simple. It’s square one. Let’s return to our roots. Let’s start there.
Don't overthink it!