Have you ever felt useless and unfruitful in the Kingdom of God especially these times of pandemic?
It can be frustrating for not being able to do what you think is helpful and fruitful especially for the Kingdom of God. It is a temptation to even think that God might start to value you less in comparison to those who are out there in action for His Kingdom’s sake.
While thinking about these things recently and letting my frustrations out to God for feeling unhelpful at all, the Holy Spirit reminded me of Mary and Martha once again (see Luke chapter 10 verses 38-42).
Martha, the image of fruitfulness and productivity
I have read this story so many times and it is one of my favorite stories in the Gospel. However, as I was feeling useless and unhelpful at the process of waiting upon the LORD, I had forgotten about the most important spot that Mary chose and I would not have realized how much Martha’s mindset still resides within me if not for this season of stretching, renewing, unlearning, and learning.
It is so easy to relate with Martha for most of us in the ministry. The more we serve God visibly, the more we feel fruitful and valuable. Martha was a perfect image for ministry - she was busy serving, preparing dishes, and all other chores that seemed beneficial to the LORD.
We see her “faith in action” as I put it in my mind. I was looking through that lens and since this pandemic brought so many of us here in my country to stay home most of the time, I am thankful for God’s gentle reminder that such image of productivity and usefulness in the Kingdom had to be renewed and corrected by His Word.
“Mary has chosen what is better…” (Luke chapter 10 verse 42)
I am reminded once again of Jesus’ words of praise for Mary for choosing to sit at His feet and stay close to His presence, and that being praised by the LORD is even better than any other praises you can receive from men.
Upon studying this story in the Gospel, the Holy Spirit made me realize that both Martha and Mary were doing something; just as Martha was busy serving FOR THE LORD, Mary too was doing something IN THE LORD – she was listening to the Him and GOD preferred that as a better choice than doing something He did not say to do.
I realized how the enemy can deceive us in the aspect of ministry that doing something for God means fruitfulness and valuable in the eyes of God without realizing that the focus becomes the self instead of listening to what God truly wants for the moment.
The fruit of sitting at the LORD’s feet
Digging deeper into my study, I learned that it was the same Mary of Bethany who anointed the feet of Jesus with expensive perfume in preparation for His burial (see John chapter 12 verses 1-10). And she was criticized by a disciple for wasting such an expensive perfume instead of selling it to use the money and help the poor. But Jesus defended her and said, “Leave her alone… It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial” (John chapter 12 verse 7).
It’s amazing to see the fruit of Mary choosing to sit at the feet and listen to the LORD that day. She was able to prepare herself in advance for what was to come by intentionally keeping the fragrant oil, not just an ordinary one but very costly oil to be poured on the feet of JESUS. Mary patiently waited for that day to come.
Let’s sit at the LORD’s feet and ignore Martha’s complains!
If what I am saying relates to you, don’t be discouraged by Martha’s voice of criticisms; for not being able to do things like hers this season. Don’t feel less of a value simply because God is moving unconventionally to you and through you in this season.
Instead, appreciate every moment that you have all the time to sit at the LORD’s feet, worship, and minister unto Him, and take heed His instructions that will prepare you for the greater things to come.
Continuously fight for that position of faith – sitting at the LORD’s feet and listening to the contents of His heart. Whatever He says, reveals and speaks to you, that you only do! That’s what truly matters in the eyes of God and that’s what truly makes an eternal fruit that leaves an impact just like Mary.
Lovely Lao is a Sunday school teacher and is involved in children’s ministry at a local church. She is a passionate lover of God and people, especially children. Jesus is her ultimate joy and excitement in life and she is hungry to know and learn more about him. She is also married to a youth pastor who is a man after God’s heart.
Lovely Lao’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/lovely-salcedo.html