Monday, February 9, 2015

Vist at Martha's House, part 9: The Ill-fitting Yoke

Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me." (Luke 10:38-40 NASB)

Martha had been busy with preparations while her sister sat at the feet of Jesus, listening to every word. Martha was distracted and overwhelmed with the preparations and wanted help. When Mary, her sister, didn't volunteer to help out, she went to Jesus with an interesting question. "Lord, do you not care?" What she actually said was "Do you not care that my sister is making me do all this work by myself?" When was implicit in her words was another question entirely. "Lord, I did not choose to spend time with you. My choice is not working out well for me, and I don't like it, but don't you care enough to send me some help with my choice so I can keep doing what I chose?" 

Ouch. When we look at her question from that perspective, we see something we might not have noticed before. Martha didn't like the results of her choice, but she didn't seem to have any intention of making a different choice. She did not go to Jesus saying, "My choice to do housework instead of spend time with you is not working for me. Can you help me make a better choice?" She did not say, "How much preparation did You want me to make for all these people? Tell me what YOU want so I can please You." 

I am a master at being a Martha. It is so easy to see something I think needs to be done and forge ahead to do it. When I do that, however, it is not uncommon to find that the work is bigger than I imagined and there is considerably less joy in it than I hoped. More than once I have found myself at the feet of Jesus saying, "This burden is too heavy! This yoke is too painful!" Every time, our Lord has very gently whispered with that still, small voice, "That was never my burden for you. It was never my yoke for you." If we want the abundant life Christ came to bring, we must begin at the feet of Jesus. There is work that must be done, but it is in the work our Lord chooses that we find peace and joy. 

Are you overwhelmed with your busyness, burdened with your life and all the challenges you face? Instead of going to Jesus with demands that He help you keep doing everything you are doing, go to Him with open hands. Offer Him every responsibility and burden you have and allow Him to choose what remains. You can be sure that time spent with Him will be a high priority. It may be, however, that some of the responsibilities you carry are no longer His will for you. For those of us accustomed to an extremely busy life, paring down might seem a burden in itself. When you have time to enjoy our Lord, however, you may find that a pared life is richer and brings more joy than all the busyness you could pack into your days.

When the burden is heavy, when the yoke doesn't fit, there is only one place to go. Jesus. 

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30 NASB)