Commitments that Differ

“But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her’ ” (Luke 10:41-42).

This story is well known and teachers often refer to it when instructing on the need to listen to God. Martha was busy serving, while Mary was listening to Jesus. Martha grew perturbed with Mary because she seemed idle to Martha. But perhaps Jesus was also correcting a misunderstanding. Elsewhere the Bible commends hard work. Paul commends hard work throughout his closing chapter on Romans (see Romans 16:1-27).

Some who serve in one capacity, think their place of service rises above all others. But God gave a variety of gifts to the church, and no one gift can serve all:

“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith” (Romans 12:4-6).

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6).

We should be slow to judge another’s work. We may not know what God called them to. They may appear to not serve much, but what if we learned that person visited the hospital often to cheer people up? What if we discovered they spent hours in prayer each week, praying for people like you and me? We don’t know the motives of the heart, but we can ask God to work on ours.

We should appreciate the variety of gifts and people that God blesses us with. And then we need to consider how God could use us in His service. Sometimes the church suffers when too much is placed on too few backs. Then we all suffer.

What has God called us do?

One truth the Bible emphasizes over and over again:

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23).

We should not serve God halfheartedly or lukewarmly. He deserves our very best. We may not all perform the same functions or share the same gifts. But we all can serve God with all our hearts.

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