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!” Luke 10:40
In one of his sermons, the British preacher Charles Spurgeon spoke at length on the spirit of Martha and the spirit of Mary. The spirit of Martha, Spurgeon says, is a “restless spirit” that culminates into “an elaborate method of doing nothing.” He contrasts this with the spirit of Mary that feeds the soul by focusing on the spiritual nature of Christ. It refines the soul through “the process of musing and learning.”
In my personal life, I find it so easy to fall into the “spirit of Martha”. Several years ago, I found myself putting a copious amount of effort into serving at a church instead of a balanced scale of learning, growing and giving back. This pattern quickly led to burnout and I was left wondering if I was really being filled by going to church in the first place. In processing this, I realized I had to make sure I was intentionally taking steps back in order to support my journey with Christ. It also meant I needed to surround myself with people who understood the importance of focusing on being in Christ’s presence. Having these individuals check in on me helped ensure I was taking time to be in His presence. Serving isn’t bad in and of itself, but this experience taught me the importance of focusing on having a “spirit of Mary.” I want to focus on the works of Jesus in my life rather than trying to appease Him through my actions.
This week, focus on how you can help others spend time in Jesus’ presence. Maybe it means supporting them with their workload and chores, or it could be taking them to coffee and spending time together in community focusing on Christ’s Spirit.
By John Egland