My husband and I help lead a high school discipleship program at our church. Last year, we spent an evening studying the familiar story of Mary and Martha. The usual tack is to ask students to compare and contrast the two sisters, think about which one they identify with more, and then to try and balance our their “Mary” and “Martha” tendencies in order to live a better Christian life.
Almost everyone thinks of themselves as more Martha-ish. They say they need to Mary it up more often and just be in Jesus’ presence – but then they continue to hang on to the Martha behaviors of doing by trying to balance the two actions. “God’s part and my part” or “God-and” as AW Tozer calls it:
“The evil habit of seeking God-and effectively prevents us from finding God in full revelation. In the and lies our great woe. If we omit the and we shall soon find God, and in Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing.”
We are fortunate to live in our time after Christ because, as believers, we have the Holy Spirit’s indwelling. We can always be sitting at the feet of God – emotionally, spiritually, intellectually – because He is always with us! There is no balance between being in His presence and doing good works. They are to be harmoniously blended; we are called to be continuously behaving like Mary who rested in His presence and listened to His voice. We are to abide in Christ, to be a branch alive through relying on the vine, the life-giving sap flowing through us and producing fruit. The good works will flow out of the abiding.
“But there’s only one thing you need. Mary has chosen what is better, and it is not to be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42 (ISV)
So choose the only thing you need, to be in Jesus’ presence and it will not be taken away from you.