What things are to be present in the church? What has God commanded us to do? What has God told us is of utmost importance?
It’s funny, but if you compare Scripture to what many of us do, you will find that we are not always on the same page. Many of us fill our lives and our churches with activities so that we have no time for stillness. Many of our churches are so full of things that just have to be done that our workers are actually giving up time in worship, in silence, in study, or in meditation for the sake of the activities we feel are required to keep our churches growing.
Without going on a big rant about this topic, let me simply point us to a passage that I read in my daily reading that speaks to the concept.
Luke 10:38-42 – 38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Mary and Martha were sisters who loved the Lord Jesus. They both wanted to honor him ,and in this instance, they both tried to honor him in different ways. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet. Her desire was to worship and learn from Jesus. Martha was busy. She had work to do. She had things that just needed to be done.
Martha, frustrated at her sister’s stillness, called on Jesus to tell her to get up and start working. But Jesus responded in a way that surprised Martha. Jesus said that Mary had chosen what was better, and he would not take it from her. Mary had done what pleased Jesus far more than had Martha, even though Martha was working harder and accomplishing more.
I wonder, are you too busy for worship? Are you so busy trying to change the world for the Lord that you are failing to sit still in his presence? Are you too busy trying to make your church grow to actually focus your own life on the worship of the Savior? Jesus is not glorified if we develop big churches that are so rushed, so programmed, so intent on success that we forget to magnify the Savior in our own lives. God commands worship. God delights in his people focusing on his glory and enjoying his majesty. And if we miss this, we miss what church is about regardless of how big we grow or how big our impact is on our communities.
Of course the Lord is not telling us here to be lazy. This passage is not supposed to make us go monastic. But the Lord wants us to remember that he is not honored if we shape our lives and ministries so that we are too busy to worship.