My husband reminded me of something very important recently. He reminded me about the ministry of rest – the precious rest of Mary’s focus, the refreshing of the spirit, the attention we give to caring for our body and mind. While I set out to “look after the world”, my husband has been looking after me. He has been working overtime to ensure I don’t burn out, that I eat, sleep and am set up to reach my full potential. I have been spoilt by all the packed lunches, delicious dinners, and nighttime tuck-ins, but I also realise just how hard my hubby has been working. I love being creative, planning things, and doing … everything. So, my hubby has had to chase me down to get me to rest! My husband has been so faithful in loving me and leading me. He always supports me in a way that will help me draw closer to God and live in the fullness of God. I feel very blessed to have married a man who is so grounded in Christ, who radiates God’s love, and who directs me as best he can in all of God’s ways. I love him!
So, what is the point me telling you this? Well, my husband’s example of living, and the way he has cared for me, caused me to step back and reassess. Where was I putting all my energy and what did that count for? I have been doing many things but one thing is necessary. I have been running around preparing the meal so that people would come to a place of knowing Jesus. Yet in doing this, I was exhausting myself so as I rushed to my Lord and fell at His feet, I was tired and could barely catch what he was saying before I woke up and did it all again. Experiencing the love of my husband in so many practical ways, I see how he has been steadfast to the Lord, ministering faithfully to his household and his wife. As I appreciated my husband and the beauty of his selfless faith, I felt the Lord whisper, “Mary, Mary,” and I remembered that one thing is necessary. I want to sit at the feet of Jesus, be still, and listen to his wonderful words.
Matthew 22:37 and Luke 10:27 speak about the greatest commandment and the key to eternal life – to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind”. If we are to do this, we need rest. How can we run the race if we have not rested? How can we persevere if we have not refueled on strength? How can we constantly love our Lord with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, if we are not constantly resting in Him? So, here are three little reminders that highlight the ministry of rest – for the mind, the soul and the body.
1. Mary’s Focus – Rest for the mind
The story of Mary and Martha is well known. In today’s busy world, there are so many things to do – all manner of work, entertainment and discoveries. I am a little explorer and I love experiencing new things. I love to do things with my hands, to think about possibilities, and imagine what God might be doing in every situation. My heart loves the Lord and desires for His return, for the building of His kingdom. My mind often goes a million miles organising how to fit it all in, but in the end I know I can never do what God does. I simply enjoy working with Him, and rejoicing in His work. I consciously have to still my mind, to bring it under God’s jurisdiction and not my own. What is my focus? I do not want ministry to overtake my focus. My focus is on Christ my Lord, who never fails to captivate me.
“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.” – [Luke 10:38]
Martha recognised who Jesus was and invited Him into her home. By doing so, she opened the door for Jesus to enter not only her life, but also those who were in her home; her sister Mary, for example. However, Martha then became distracted with all the things that needed to be done.
“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 alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” – [Luke 10:29]
Here is an example of what happens when we forget to rest our mind. Martha, busy with serving, shows how this has can affect our focus. Her comment to Jesus shows that she feels alone in her service. She asks Mary to leave her place at Jesus’ feet to help her. The focus is no longer on Jesus, but on the work. It is no longer conducted in the peace of God, but in the pace of a task-driven mind. What Martha is doing is good, and the purpose in her heart is godly. We need to live out our faith with actions! However, the worries of the world, and the responsibilities she has prevent her from taking time out to sit at Jesus’ feet. Instead, she feels that those who do have not pulled their weight. When Jesus calls Martha’s name, He reminds her of what is important.
“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 from her.” [Luke 10:41-42]
When Jesus calls Martha’s name, it is a reminder of the one thing that is necessary – to dwell in the presence of God. Jesus loves to spend quality time with us! Let us hear the Lord call our name. Let us treasure and put aside time to just sit in His presence, to dwell in His house, and to gaze upon the beauty of His face.