I don’t remember a lot from seminary. I spent most of my time trying to catch up from classes that I ditched or taking naps in my car. However, I will always remember this image.
This image represents our lives with Jesus. We should be in a constant state of encountering Jesus, allowing that encounter to fuel the activity in our lives and then returning to him to once again sit at his feet. This image shows us that we should have balance between how much time we spend at the feet of Jesus and how much time we spend serving him and just living our lives.
The story of Mary and Martha gives us a great example of what this should look like. Martha busied herself with all of the preparations when Jesus and his disciples stopped by. But Mary simply sat at the feet of Jesus, listening to what he had to say. In that instance, Jesus tells Martha that Mary has chosen the better thing. Instead of getting distracted by all the preparations, she should have seized the opportunity just to be with Jesus.
As followers of Christ we’re called to be both Mary and Martha. The Holy Spirit empowers us with gifts that we’re supposed to use to expand God’s kingdom in this world. Like Martha, our lives should be marked by service and activity. We can’t survive on activity alone, though. At some point we need to push pause on all of our activity and sit at the feet of Jesus. Like Mary, we need to find rest, peace and restoration with Jesus.
The problem with this cycle is that it often gets out of balance. Unless we’re aesthetic monks, we probably spend too much time on the activity side and not enough on the encounter side. We fill our lives with work, school, family, friends, video games and Netflix, often feeling exhausted and unsatisfied in spite of everything that we’ve got going on.
A life filled solely with activity and service will ultimately leave us wanting more. We weren’t created to be human doings; we were created to live lives of service and activity that are fueled by and built upon personal, daily encounters with Jesus. We need to be both Mary and Martha to really live the lives for which we were created. For most of us, though, we forgo Mary and just live as Martha.
During Lent I’ve been leaving my phone plugged in after I wake up. Instead of getting distracted by Twitter or Instagram, I get right into my time with Jesus. The simple act of leaving my phone plugged in has been transformative for me. I’ve definitely got more Martha in me than Mary, but I’ve been able to have more consistent times with Jesus during Lent.
We can’t just be people who go, go, go and do, do, do. We need to pause, rest and reflect at the feet of Jesus. Our cycles of encounter and activity can’t get out of balance, or else we’ll end up burning out and having rest forced upon us.
How do you make time to rest, pause and reflect at the feet of Jesus?