Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons (and daughters) of God.”
1 John 3: 1
“Hark, my soul! It is the Lord;
‘Tis thy Savior, hear His word,
Jesus speaks, and speaks to Thee,
‘Say, poor sinner, lovest Thou Me?’
Lord, it is my chief complaint
That my love is weak and faint;
Yet I love Thee and adore,
Oh for grace to love Thee more!”
Today’s Study Text:
“But the Lord replied to (Martha) by saying: ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things.’”
Luke 10: 41
“Martha – thou art careful and troubled about many things.”
Luke 10: 41
“Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing.”
Luke 10: 41
The Message Bible
“The Fragrance of His Presence” Part 7
“Worked Up Over Nothing ”
“God lays upon us no other burden than that of putting our whole trust in Him.”
What particular burden am I carrying today?
Have I given this burden to my Father in heaven for Him to carry?
Do I believe that the things which are making me anxious could really be worth “nothing”?
“Good Jesus, strength of the weary, rest of the restless…come to me who is weary that I may rest in You.”
“Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. ‘The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of the Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I’m not keeping it to Myself; I’m ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen. Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me, and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.’”
Matthew 11: 27, 28
The Message Bible
We are not told exactly where Jesus was when He spoke the words, “Come unto me ye who are weary.” But one day, as He was speaking to those who were following Him and listening to all He said, He began to explain how close He was to His Father in heaven. As Matthew records, Jesus wanted to explain, “line-by-line,” that what He was talking about was exactly the way His Father felt about the lives of each individual in the audience.
The reason I chose Matthew 11: 27, 28 for the quote above is that I believe there is an unbreakable connection between the words Jesus spoke to His followers and Martha’s activities in Bethany for which Jesus laid down some very crucial advice which like a beautiful aroma lingers in the air to this very day.
We aren’t given the details on the size of Martha’s home; but having Jesus and His disciples, as well as who knows how many others chose to come into her home hungry, provided Martha with a huge challenge. Having worked with a close friend many years ago catering food for some significant sized gatherings, I’m beyond sympathetic with Martha and her anxious heart.
But as all the hustle and bustle hit a feverish pitch, it was the voice of our Master who lovingly came to the rescue of Martha, to specifically let her know that it wasn’t necessary in Jesus’ world, in the Kingdom of God, to prove your love by constant activity that would drain the “life force” from an individual.
Several months ago, I was reading about a couple who dedicated themselves to God’s service and how sad it was to find that the husband literally worked himself into an early grave, traveling night and day, pushing his body until his strength literally gave out.
This is why, early in His ministry, Jesus laid out some of the principles which apply to you and me today. While the crowd around Jesus were most likely individuals who engaged in outside work activity, unlike our indoor office jobs today, still the fundamental lesson applies: “If you come to Me, I will give you rest.”
Sadly, today we find ourselves caught up in a world that author Mark Buchanan insightfully describes in this manner: “in a culture where busyness is a fetish and stillness is laziness, rest is sloth.” If we stop and take a second glance into the home in Bethany, it is as if Martha, seeing Mary just sitting around doing nothing, from her standpoint was a complete waste of time. Mark Buchanan continued in his book entitled The Rest of God that, “without rest, we miss the rest of God; the rest He invites us to enter more fully so that we might know Him more deeply.”
This viewpoint on “rest” falls in line with Jesus’ own words to His listeners when He was explaining that what He was telling them was exactly the same thing His Father would say and in this case, it was that if you wanted to cultivate a fruitful spiritual life, a frenzy of activity wasn’t the way to go about it. There needed to be a balance between the activities of busily doing and of quiet devotion. For as author Jane Rufetta in her book, Resting Place, states, “God’s purposes may best be accomplished through our inactivity.”
As you think over all the many activities which you try to cram into 24 hours, do you find that like Martha, you are “fussing too much,” getting yourself worked up over “nothing?” What an amazing God we have – a God who calls out to us and doesn’t say “Good going! Now see if you can squeeze a little more into that gap you have at 1:56 P.M.” Instead, we find that the pace we think we must run, may not be anything like God’s plan for us at all.
If everyone you work with continually tells you, “I need this work completed yesterday,” then it becomes much too easy for us to think God believes and acts the same way. As Keri Kent recognizes, “We expect marching orders, or hoops to jump through. But God simply says, ‘Alright, this will be challenging, but here’s what I want you to do: take a break.”
In a treasure of an old book I found several years ago called The Silver Lining, English author and Pastor J. H. Jowett has one entire chapter with the title, “The Ministry of Rest.” I’d like to share some of his profound insights in reference to what Jesus said about “resting”:
“All the arrangements of (Jesus) public life were made on the assumption of its brevity. And yet He made time for rest! Sometimes we allow the sacredness of our labor to tempt us to regard rest as indolence and relaxation as waste. True rest is the minister of progress. The hour of seclusion enriches the public service…there is nothing that so refreshes the entire (being) as deep, quiet waiting upon God…Get the soul restored, and every part of the being will feel the mighty influence of its rejuvenation…There is more real recreation in one hour of communion with Christ than in a whole week of social revelries, however gracious and worthy they may be.”
In the words of David the Psalmist, “He restoreth my soul.” (Psalm 23: 3, K.J.V.) Today Christ calls out again, “ (your name) don’t wear yourself out only to find out it was all for nothing. Come rest with Me.”
“No (person) ever sank under the burden of the day. It is when tomorrow’s burden is added to the burden of today that the weight is more than an (individual) can bear. Never load yourself so. If you find yourself so loaded, at least remember this, it is your doing, not God’s.”
“Cast your burden on the Lord, releasing the weight of it, and He will sustain you: He will never allow the consistently righteous to be moved, made to slip, fall or fail.”
Psalm 55: 22
“You, who said, ‘Come unto me all ye who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest.’ I come to you now.
For I am weary indeed. Mentally and physically I am bone-tired I am all wound up, locked up right with tension. I am too tired to eat. Too tired to think. Too tired even to sleep. I feel close to the point of exhaustion.
Lord, let your healing love flow through me.
I can feel it easing my tensions. Thank you. I can feel my body relaxing. Thank you. I can feel my mind begin to go calm and quiet and composed.
Thank you for unwinding me, Lord, for unlocking me. I am no longer tight and frozen with tiredness, but flowing freely, softly, gently into your healing rest.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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