Does it seem like we should already be marking Pentecost Sunday? I mean... it feels like we just celebrated Easter!
The seven Sundays of Easter have flown by at break-neck speed! Like so much of life, I suppose...
Maybe it’s because we’re so busy these days that time seems to fly by? I’m not sure, because I’ve been busy my whole life! Always finding something to do... always trying to be “productive”.
I’ve literally had a job of some sort, earning money, since I was 10 years old. When I was in 5th and 6th grade, I’d ride my bike to school. And after school, 5 days a week... I’d ride down to the Boy Scout hut, where I’d pick up my bundle of newspapers, and loading those papers up in the wire basket on the front of my bike, I’d proceed to deliver. Up Second Avenue, to parts of 1st... and through 10th and 11th Streets to Jennings Avenue. Between my weekly pay (and tips), I though I was rich. And maybe I was!
Of course, when I wasn’t delivering newspapers, I was cutting grass and doing yard work for neighbors. And when I turned 16, I went to work in a grocery store.
So don’t get me wrong... there’s nothing wrong with being productive. The old saying is “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop.” But sometimes we take it too far... Sometimes we live life like it’s a competition... running from activity to activity. Trying to achieve it all.
We often act like success is based solely on our efforts, our sweat and tears. And the result is... at times, we can feel overwhelmed and over-booked... and under-appreciated. Right?
If you’re anything like me then you probably have a hard time saying “NO.” You say yes without thinking, then find yourself in over your head. Life is moving faster than we can keep up... and sometimes we can’t help but wonder why we said “yes” in the first place.
However, Jesus never asked any of us to be busy.
Sometimes we’re all guilty of allowing our productivity (or our idea of productivity) to outpace our purpose.
See there’s nothing wrong with keeping a calendar. There’s nothing wrong with having plans. There’s nothing wrong with being productive! Goals and hard work never hurt anyone, and I pray we all work hard!
But... are you pursuing YOUR plans, or are you pursuing HIS purpose? Are you doing everything for God’s honor... the end result being God’s glory? (1 Cor. 10:31)
I often get distracted from God’s will, and find I’m really doing my will. Keeping my plans... my goals... measuring my success... (when sometimes I struggle to keep my lawn mowed!).
But God’s will is for me to sit at His feet, focus on Him, and pursue my relationship with Him. I will never know and appreciate my true purpose, until I know my Creator and Savior.
I know our scripture readings may seem a little odd for Pentecost Sunday. The day the Church remembers the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. But I think, if we listen, the depth of Pentecost - the gift of the presence of Christ’s Spirit - that never leaves us - is present in this story.
It’s the story (of course) of Mary and Martha... as they played host to Jesus in their home. However, they each handled themselves very differently. Martha, busy preparing the house and meal... Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to Him.
Jesus told Martha, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.”
Martha may have been the one who was being productive… but she was missing out on her purpose. What Martha was doing was helpful… but it wasn’t necessarily holy.
You only have one purpose and it is Jesus. To love Jesus... to be with Jesus... in order to show Jesus to others.
So to my busy, overwhelmed and tired friends – drop your worries. Drop your anxieties. Drop your to-do list. Drop your plans if they’re getting in the way of time with Jesus... and “seek ye first the Kingdom.”
Your purpose is more than your job, your activities, your financial stability, or your calendar.
Jesus doesn’t want your schedule, your hustle, or your good deeds.
Jesus wants YOU.
And when Jesus has you... “all of [these other things we seek] will be added unto you.”
In fact, in John’s Gospel (7:37-39), we’re told that Jesus said, “If a man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me... streams of living water will flow from within him.” John goes on to say that “By this [living water flowing from within], Jesus meant the Spirit [as in the Holy Spirit], whom those who believed in [Christ] were later to receive.”
When Jesus said “come to me” I don’t think He meant “come to me, when you get all your duck in a row” Or “come when you have space in your life... or... come when you can make time for me”. He meant for you to come right now in your busy-ness & weariness and sit at His feet. That’s how you and I receive his Spirit! It’s how you and I experience the power and reality of Pentecost in our own lives.
Jesus calls us to come... right now… even in the midst of the craziness of life.
Whether you’re in college and overwhelmed with school or whether you’re an adult overwhelmed with adulting… whether you are a single mom of three constantly running from “pillar to post” - or a hard working father killing it at work… do yourself a favor. Stop... and sit at Jesus’ feet. Tune out the distractions. Be with Jesus. Be with Jesus now. Call out to Christ, and give him your attention. Let Jesus speak. Open your bible and read His word.
Stop focusing on all the things this world says we should focus on... and focus on the One thing that’s needed. Focus on Him.
The fact is... this world wants to keep us distracted! A distracted church is a powerless church! A distracted Christian is no threat to oppression, and hatred, and death. How are you supposed to ever know your purpose if you’re not listening, and attentive, to the One who created that purpose? How could we ever hope to make this world better (different), if we’re not willing to first sit at the feet of the One who saved the world?
Many people will tell you to hustle. Many people will tell you that each day is about working harder and becoming smarter. Don’t get distracted. I promise you, friend, you can work as hard as you want but if you’re too distracted to sit at His feet... you’re missing out on your true purpose.