On Learning the Good Art of Resting in Toil

I'm equal parts Mary and Martha.  

I sit at Jesus' feet. But while there I am anxious and troubled about many things.

Most of us know the story of Martha and Mary well.  Martha is exasperated as she works to be a gracious hostess to Jesus who has come to visit her home. Meanwhile, Mary sits at His feet listening to Him teach. 

I often exasperate myself with my constant striving for what has already been freely given. I cannot work for the peace that comes from abiding in God's presence.  It's so easy to get distracted by spiritual distractions and acts of service But all the good  of serving doesn't measure up to obeying the prompting of the Holy Spirit to rest our hands and simply sit.

Of Mary and Martha, Elisabeth Elliot said: 

"Mary and Martha had made choices. It seems that Martha may have chosen a menu that was too elaborate. A simple one would have sufficed, and left her time to sit down with Jesus and Mary. Mary's choice was better.

Sometimes our difficulty arises from unreasonable expectations - of ourselves, of what we can accomplish in a given time, or of others, of their abilities or temperaments. We stew over failure (again - ours or others') instead of quietly giving it over to Christ, thanking Him for His strength in place of our weakness, and then simply going on in peace."

I love this thought. Each sister made a choice. One made a choice to toil and one to rest amongst the toil. Just because there is work--and often good work--being done around us doesn't mean we have to allow it to pull of from the thing we most need. 

I pray that I learn balance. I also pray that in the moments when busy-ness or service to God pulls at me, that I learn to rest my hands and sit at Jesus' feet when that is the most needful thing. Here's to choosing the better part.