Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The New Martha's

The cry is ringing out all over Christendom. It is time for Christians to get busy. No more sitting around listening to the teachings of the apostles (Acts 2:42), no more growing spiritually fat on sermon after sermon (1 Cor. 1:21), no more exclusionary salvation by faith in Christ alone (Acts 4:12); it’s time for Christians (or perhaps I should more accurately say “Christ followers”) to stop going to church and to start being the church!

The new Martha’s are aggressive in their pursuit of works righteousness, not content to quietly do their good deeds in secret, they insist upon having their rewards now; on letting not only the right hand know what the left is doing, but in declaring that every hand must see and participate or risk being relegated to the scrap heap of irrelevance.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against doing good deeds; as the fruit of the Holy Spirit is produced in our lives through relationship with Christ that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control is going to find expression in all sorts of wonderful ways. Husbands are going to be more loving of their wives, employees are going to be more conscientious as they do their jobs “unto the Lord” rather than from selfish ambition, widows are going to be treated with love and kindness, the sick are going to be visited and yes Martha, dinners will be served to the hungry and homeless. (Read: Jesus and His entourage)

The trouble with the new Martha’s is the same one that existed in Jesus’ day at the home of the original Martha. Not content to joyfully serve the Lord in the capacity they have chosen, like their hard working ancestor they feel compelled to criticize - even to call into question the very salvation - of the Mary’s who know and love the Lord and treasure every moment of rest, sitting and learning at His feet.

Now as then the Martha’s complain to the Lord, - now as then the answer remains the same,

"Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:40-42)


morri said...

... to stop going to church and to start being the church! Your onto something that the early church (church as in the people of faith) had in the beginning. Have you read the book "Pagan Christianity?" by Barna/Viola.

Dan Cormie said...

I have not read that book Morri, however I think the recent shift away from seeing the church as the gathering of the saints is an error. The focus of the early church, contrary to what many are now asserting is laid out for us in Acts 2:42 - "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."

These things are not "seeker sensitive" or "purpose driven", and they are certainly not outreach motivated. The gathering of the saints is for edification and equipping for ministry that happens outside of the gathering time.