The Balance of Seeking and Serving
Luke 10:38-42 NIV
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
So, you're sitting in your kitchen, and your friend comes over. You want to be a good hostess so you offer her a cup of something cold to drink. You open the cupboard, grab a clean pitcher and a glass, and start to pour, right? No. First, you have to fill up the pitcher with water, ice, and maybe even some iced tea or drink mix, and then you pour. This is pretty obvious. If you didn't do this, you'd just be giving her a glass of air. So, why do we try to pour ourselves out in serving before we fill ourselves up?
Serving is good. Helping others is good. But, you can spend sixty plus hours of your week serving and helping without spending a minute of time in prayer and in God's Word. Anyone can serve. Anyone can donate money to a good cause, but if we're serving for serving's sake, we're missing the point.
In the story of Mary and Martha, it says that preparations had to be made. Jesus doesn't say that serving and preparing were bad things to do, He just says that the better thing to do, the best thing to do, was to sit and spend time with Him. Martha was so worried about getting everything done, but don't you think if she were to sit with Mary and listen to Jesus for awhile, that He would be faithful to help them get everything done? All the preparations would be made, and they wouldn't be embarrassed or lacking as hostesses? After all, he fed thousands with minimal food and had some to spare.
If we serve or help others, we should do it because it's the right thing to do, but we should also do it to point them to Christ and His unconditional love for them. If we're not taking care of ourselves and our spiritual growth, it's going to be really hard to speak truth when the opportunity arises.
On the other hand, if we're filling, filling, filling, without ever trying to pour ourselves out in serving others, we're growing closer to God, but we're missing one of His main points in loving others. We're learning, but not applying. We need to find the balance between serving and seeking.
As you examine your life, here are some questions to ask yourself to see if you are keeping a good balance. Some may be a little difficult to digest, but we need to be honest with ourselves.
Find Your Filter
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4:8
I love coffee! For me, it's a must-do for every morning. If I don't have at least one cup, the day is going to be a little off without my needed dose of caffeine. Lately, I've been trying to watch my spending so have been making a lot more coffee in the regular coffee maker with coffee grounds and good old-fashioned coffee filters instead of my single serve machine.
And you know what I don't love? Drinking my delicious coffee, taking in every sip, and when I get to the bottom, discover that coffee grounds got into my cup, and I have to go spit them out in the sink. Gross! This hasn't happened in awhile, but when it does, I go over and check the status of the coffee maker. Sure enough, in the process, the weight of the water pushed down the edge of the coffee filter, and some grounds snuck into the pot and then ended up in my cup. It kind of ruins my relaxing start to the day.
Filters of all kinds, are so helpful. They separate the bad from the good, the truth from the lies, the wanted from the unwanted. We use coffee filters, air filters, water filters, and more. Why do we sometimes forget to use filters when we are speaking or posting on social media?
As Christians, the most important filter we can use is the Bible. If anything we hear contradicts the Bible, it isn't true. Therefore, we shouldn't repeat it. If anything we hear contradicts God's view of those He created in his image, it isn't true. Therefore, we shouldn't repeat it.
Philippians Chapter Four provides us with a great filter to protect our thinking and speaking. If anything isn't excellent or praiseworthy or admirable or true, we shouldn't think about it, let alone say it. It harms others and it harms ourselves.
I want to encourage you to start using God's Word as a filter more intentionally before you speak or share things on social media. See how it changes your life and changes the lives of those around you.