It is important to remember what is necessary when setting and implementing goals for the year. Even the intention of spending more time in God’s Word should be placed upon the backdrop of Christ.
“While they were traveling, He [Jesus] entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.” The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42
I don’t know about you, but every time I read this account, God reminds me how much He desires for me to spend time with Him. Today, God affirmed my desire to have Him close, but that I am still missing something. Just like Martha, I often invite Christ into my home, but once He is in, I too frequently begin giving out the orders and plans for the day. God is pleased with my desire to have Him be in every area of my life, but for that to occur, I must allow Him to minister to my needs through time at His feet.
Christ has all He needs. I am the one who is lacking. When I don’t allow God to be God in my life, my complaining, griping, and to-do list evaporates my joy and love of God and others. I no longer live the abundant life but wander around in the desert. In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen the dry feeling of doing too much in the name of Jesus is described accurately.
“I was living in a very dark place and the term ‘burnout’ was a convenient psychological translation for a spritual death.”
You see, when we insist that even our time with the Lord is spent on our terms, we will continue to miss the blessings of how Christ longs to meet our needs. As Christians, our old nature desires to continue to be the one in control as we fill our time with activities we deem worthy of Christ’s attention. However, we can still miss the living God as Ken Shigematsu mentions in his book God In My Everything: How An Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God.
It is possible to engage in a lot of “spiritual” activity but fail to grow. As Martin Luther noted, we can “pray” the Lord’s Prayer hundreds or even thousands of times but not really pray—that is, not meaningfully engage with the living God. We might go to church weekly but not truly worship from our heart or attend to the voice of God. We can do a lot of spiritual activity and not deepen our friendship with Jesus. Ironically, attempting too many spiritual practices at once can actually keep our relationship with Jesus on the surface because we are not able to experience him deeply in any of those activities (Shigematsu, 24).
Bottom line is we can spend our time doing things for the Lord and still miss out on the things Christ wants to do in our lives because we refuse to sit at His feet. We miss out on the deep intimacy He longs to have with us when we dictate how things are to be executed. To help refocus our goals this year, may we consider this question together.
When we come to December 31st, will we have spent more time at Jesus’ feet or more time telling Christ what He should be doing?
Lord God, we ask You to come into our homes today. Help us to sit at Your feet and not focus on the to-do lists and all the people who are not doing what we think they should be doing. Help us to focus more on how You want us to love those around us and not how we want them to love us. Help us to pour out our lives as drink offerings for our spouses, children, friends, and coworkers and in so doing help them to work out their own salvation to be blameless and pure children of God who shine like the stars (Philippians 2:15). Lord, be glorified today in all that we say and do and give us Your peace as we work throughout the day. In Jesus Name, Amen.