By Nicole Tlapek
When I used to think of idols, images of little men folding their legs or rich carved stone sometimes entered my mind.
Throughout my Christian walk, I have come to realize that God had a wider variety in mind when he said, “You shall have no other God’s before me.” Essentially, God is saying, “You shall want and desire for nothing more than you want and desire for me”. This thought forced me to the conclusion that idolatry is anything that lessens my desire to want more of Christ.
"Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen it.” (Luke -42)
In the historical account above, we meet two women--Mary and Martha. Martha, we see, is a very diligent servant. She wants nothing but the best for her God, so she goes and goes and goes until each little thing is perfect! Mary, the younger sister, is so entranced by her heavenly Savior that she cannot keep away from him. She is sitting at his feet clinging on to every word, and wanting to know him more.
However, this “slacker” ticks Martha off and demands Jesus to put her sister to work with her. Jesus calmly rebukes her and says Mary has made the better decision to sit. Why is that? There were things to be done! Dinner to prepare! Linens to clean! All for HIM! Christ’s soft rebuke did not come from a place of ungratefulness. It came from an eager place in his heart for Martha to want to spend time with him as much as he wanted to spend time with her.
In this account we find Martha’s idol much like many of ours is--serving.
I believe there are many reasons we women feel the need to serve more than we feel the need to spend time with our Savior. As I have prayed over a serving heart, here are three reasons I truly feel the need to have the walls torn down regarding our serving:
ONE: There is so much need! There is a HUGE "to-do-for-God" list, and it is not gonna do itself! The truth is, business breeds distraction. Even the to-do list with the best intentions for the Lord can lead us astray if we are not spending time in prayer and in his word. Even “business for the Lord” can allow us miss opportunities to know Christ more deeply if we are too busy serving. Dr. Henry Blackaby puts it this way (from his book Experiencing God), “God is far more interested in a relationship with you than what you can dream up to do for him.”
TWO: There are so many people in need! So often, we women take on the burdens of others out of servant-hood. We fill each day making everyone happy, but we have no time at the beginning or the end of our day. We are human and we burn out. Spending time alone with him will rejuvenate and energize you to do his will and be his hands and feet for his children. If we cannot spend time at Christ's feet, we have no business spending time at another’s.
THREE: We need to be needed. We need others to feel we have fulfilled them. We want God to recognize us as his hands and feet. However, when we take on more serving than we have sat to lift to the Lord, we very well may be taking away somebody else’s opportunity to serve the Lord. We may be taking someone’s lesson or gift intended for them if we act before we sit and pray. The beautiful thing about this need, though, is that we are desired. Christ wanted Martha to know him as much as he knew her. He desires time with you as much, just like you need time with him. He died for you to have that relationship! What if you had served someone to such a great extent, but they just went off doing works in your name without spending time with you? We, ladies, are desired by God.
How do we know when to serve, then? Are we meant to limit ourselves to just reading his word and praying? Oh no. The reality is that, when we spend time with Christ, we are building a relationship with him. Who do you have a deep relationship with who does not let you know their desires? When we spend time with Christ in his word and prayer, wanting him more than anything else, he will let you know his desires. At that very moment, we can move to fulfill the needs of the body, and the desires of the Father, as the hands and feet of Christ in true servant-hood.
Dear Lord, Thank you for wanting a relationship with me. Help me fulfill our relationship first. I desire to grow so close to you that I may hear your voice and fulfill your calling in the things you have designed me to fulfill. Give me the patience and heart to sit at your feet as Mary did. Give me the faith to have peace in the knowledge that all things are in your hands.
What are some other ways that serving can take precedence over sitting at His feet?