It's frightening to realize, after years of functioning as a "good" Christian, that you have neglected the very God you thought you were serving. But that is precisely the position I'm in. Even though I have always wanted God’s best for me. Even though I have sought to please him and to tell others about him. Even though I can think of no worthwhile reason for living unless it is to serve him.
As I reminisce over the past and look to the future, I realize that I have missed the most critical element. I do not really know him—certainly not the way I should after all these years.
Strange. If you had asked me who I identify with in the story of Mary and Martha, I would have immediately voted for Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus, rather than Martha, scurrying around to provide what he hadn’t requested. But now I realize that I have actually been Martha. While devoting many hours to doing things for God and for his church, I have neglected to spend time with him.
Oh, I’ve read my Bible, believed it, studied it, memorized it, taught it. I’ve prayed for God’s blessings and help in planning and carrying out the work I’ve done for him. I’ve prayed, believing, for needs. I’ve told others about God—even had the privilege of leading people to him and helping them grow.
But I have not often spent quality time with him. I have not been Mary. Worse, I’ve taken him for granted—assumed that he understood why I was too busy to take time to idly sit with him. After all, I had lessons to prepare, newsletters to get out, meetings to plan….Time for him later, when my work here is done. Later, when we’re in Heaven together. When there isn’t so much to do….
(This article is the 2nd of 4 articles in the "21st Century Pilgrim series, which was published first in the Canadian Baptist in 1994.)
Read the rest of this 4-part series: