The balance between work and rest – Mary and Martha

I was talking to someone yesterday about a decision that they have to make.  They are conflicted between what they perceive as a tougher road that they believe God wants them to take and a different path that appears more comfortable.  And they said something about a ‘lifetime of conviction’, which sounded to me like, “A lifetime of never enjoying life.”  We can almost make it seem like God doesn’t want us to ever enjoy this life on earth.  We can almost make it seem like God always sends us down the toughest paths, and would surely never send us down an easier path once in a while.  I never want to be seen as a prosperity pastor who tells people to always take the easy path.  I also don’t want to ever miss a chance to point out that God may once in a while give us a break from the path that requires whacking weeds and having biting ants crawling all over us.  Once in a while, God may send us down a path that requires less effort, has some sweet smelling purple petunias and/or some roses, and even a bench so that we can be refreshed.

I have heard Francis Chan speak of a “Holy Angst”.  Chan seems to be saying that we are to live in this tension between frustration and fulfillment.  There is this tension between the joy of following Jesus and the sacrifice and discomfort of following Jesus.  We admire the followers like the Apostle Paul who can count it joy to sacrifice and suffer, but we can forget that God’s word says “I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Finally, the story of Mary and Martha comes to mind from Luke 10:38-42.  Martha is exemplified as one who cannot sit and enjoy being in the presence of Jesus and Mary is commended for doing just that – sitting at the feet of Jesus.  Sometimes when we choose what seems the toughest path just because it looks like the toughest path, it might just be Satan trying to keep us occupied.  Yet if we never face challenges, something’s wrong.

Put simply – sometimes we get stronger from ‘working out’ and sometimes we gain strength from rest.  God will give us both – times requiring work and times of rest, and both can glorify Jesus.  Which are you not getting enough of?

This entry was posted in Obstacles, Walking the Walk. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The balance between work and rest – Mary and Martha

  1. Ralph says:

    Sometimes you have to just set down and refocus. What does JESUS really want to accomplish through you? If you choose the right path, it may be difficult at times, but you will enjoy the journey.

  2. Reblogged this on Scott Knowlton's Blog and commented:

    A post that talks about the tension of being a follower of Jesus

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