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God loves when we take from him

Mary and Martha.
These are the words that came to my mind as I woke up in the middle of the night recently. I had been praying about what to write about, trusting God would reveal to me what he wanted me to share. My answer came at an unexpected time, but I took it as a word from the Lord to review this short but powerful story from the Bible and glean new revelation from it.
Luke 10:38-42 reads, "Now it happened as they went that he entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard his word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached him and said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve you alone? Therefore tell her to help me.'
And Jesus answered and said to her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.'”
As I studied this, the Holy Spirit showed me that Mary and Martha represent the attitudes of the different covenants. Martha had the attitude so many struggle with in thinking about everything she had to do to try to please God. This was a picture of the law, working to try to please God on our own but never being able to do so. She had a striving attitude that was laced with resentment, an attitude of “look what I am doing for you Jesus. Aren’t you going to send me a little help?”
She had no rest, and as Jesus told her, she was “worried and troubled about many things.” When we are focused on all we have to do for God, we have fallen from grace and go back to approaching God based on our works, and there is no rest or peace in that. That kind of attitude leads to stress, anxiety and heavy burdens we place on ourselves.
It is important we rest in Jesus, just like Mary did. She was the picture of how we are to be under the new covenant of grace. She wasn’t stressed and anxious, thinking of all she had to do for Jesus, but was at rest at his feet, freely receiving from him.
The old covenant demanded we perform to try to earn God’s favor, which could never be done but rather was to bring us to the end of ourselves to see our need for Jesus. The new covenant is now based on receiving what Jesus has already done for us and to rest in that.
To enter God’s rest, we cease from our works (striving to work to please him) and freely receive from him.
“For he who has entered his rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from his.” — Hebrews 4:10.
Isn’t this so contrary to how most of us believe? We think we need to work to please God, but look at how Jesus responded to that type of attitude. He did not applaud Martha for all her work but complimented Mary for resting at his feet and taking from him.
Now hear me carefully because I know people are going to think I am saying we don’t need to work or do things to further the Kingdom of God, and that is not what I am saying at all. I am saying we need to receive first from Jesus and serve second. If we don’t receive from Jesus and fill ourselves up with him, we aren’t able to pour back into him or others.
Mary had it right. In my opinion she had full intentions of serving Jesus, but she knew receiving from him first was the most important thing. Then when it was time to serve, she wouldn’t be doing so with an anxious, stressful mind but would be restful while working because she took from Jesus first.
Martha was trying to serve without first filling herself up with Jesus, and it made her serving stressful and burdensome. When we first receive from Jesus, we can do the work without the stress.
This spoke to me because sometimes I get caught up with everything “I need to do for God,” and I can allow an anxious, works-minded attitude to arise in me. When that happens, it is best for me to rest from all I’m doing for God and be still and reflect on all he has done for me through Jesus. Fill up with him first and pour out to him and others after that.
It is my prayer that all reading this will make receiving from Jesus your first priority. Allow his love and grace to fill you so you can then pour yourselves out into whatever he calls you to do.
Amber can be reached at amberdeemiller32@gmail.com">amberdeemiller32@gmail.com or through her AmberRiceMiller Facebook page.

Published: June 11, 2017
New Article ID: 2017170619981