Keeping God's Peace
by Kent Henry
While Maintaining God's Pace
While spending a significant time in prayer to God about my life and ministry, I continued to hear the Lord speak to me: "Simplify your life Kent, s-i-m-p-l-i-f-y y-o-u-r l-i-f-e." To hear something once from the Lord is powerful, but when it comes over and over again, it becomes awesome and usually signals the beginning of a "time for change."
As I pondered this word in my heart, a picture in my mind became clear. Everywhere I look, people are busy about many things. But if you ask someone what they are doing, they respond rather vaguely with, "Well, I'm not really sure, but I am busy!"
This is one of the major problems with our "Americanized" form of Christianity. We easily take care of the minor elements of life, while the major priorities many times go undone. If we are to walk in God's peace and still maintain His pace for our lives, we will have to work at these three things to stay in God's flow: 1) Simplify Our Life, 2) Hoe Our Own Row, and 3) Do Those Things Which Are Necessary. This is the lesson as Jesus taught it to Mary and Martha.
Always Choose the Best Part
Luke 10:38-42: "Now as they were traveling along, He (Jesus) entered a certain village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. And she had a sister called Mary, who moreover was listening to the Lord's word, seated at His feet.
"But Martha was distracted (encumbered about much) with all her (elaborate) preparations (her many tasks, and much housework); and she came up to Him and said, (burst in saying, suddenly, in front of Him) '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 (fretting, anxious and having many cares) and BOTHERED (fussing, troubled and bustling) about so many things; BUT ONLY A FEW THINGS ARE NECESSARY, REALLY ONLY ONE, for Mary has chosen the good (best, and most important) part, which shall not be taken away from her (and she shall not be deprived or dragged away from it; you must not tear her away from it).'" [Parentheses mine.]
Measure Your Life Against the Scriptures
When we compare our lives to the scriptures, how do we measure up? First, let's note the real difference in Martha's and Mary's hearts. It seems that Martha's motivation in having Jesus stay at her house was to entertain her honored guest without a hitch and possibly move up a few notches on the social ladder. But Mary merely wanted to sit at Jesus' feet and learn as much as possible in the short time He would be with them. This example shows a major difference in each person's purpose and heart.
The scripture clearly states that Martha was distracted with all her preparations. Distractions are common to every man, but the issue is how we handle them when they come. Preparations, as well, are common to every man, but again the issue is how we walk through them toward the main event. Many times the preparations become more of an event than the event itself.
Jesus said in Mark 2:23-28, "The Sabbath was (lit., came into being) for (the sake of) man, not man for (the sake of) the Sabbath. Consequently, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."
The point is: How do we view the way we run our lives? Martha's house was made to exalt the guest (the Lord,) not the guest to exalt the house. The preparations were done to serve the event, but not necessarily the Person. To sit at the feet of Jesus listening to the word of the Lord should have been a much higher priority than the preparations of the building that housed the Lord. Jesus could have provided the meal Himself if need be.
Keep a Humble Spirit
Another interesting point is found in the attitudes of Mary and Martha. Because of her preoccupation, Martha appears to be terribly arrogant in the way she speaks to Jesus. She almost orders Him to tell Mary to get up and start helping her. It is very apparent that Martha's heart is far from where it should be. If Martha would have approached Jesus in a more humble manner, Jesus may have answered differently.
For you and me, the same situation arises daily. Either we will spend time sitting at Jesus' feet or end up being busy about many other things. We need to spend time with the Lord, so our approach to the busyness of life will be answered with wisdom and humility. We then learn through this lifestyle which things we can give up to keep God's peace while maintaining God's pace.
Hoe Your Own Row
Recently, a message a preacher shared years ago called "Hoe Your Own Row" came to mind. It contains a very applicable truth for today.
"Hoeing your own row" means keeping your eyes on that which the Lord has for you to do: by doing so you will be able to hoe and weed in a straight fashion. When you divert your attention to someone else's row and still try to how your own, you end up pulling up your crop with the weeds.
It is a major weakness of mankind that we always want to know everybody else's business. But our own experience and heart confirm that we should "hoe our own row." We need to mind our own store and get to work on God's will and purpose for our own life. There really aren't enough hours in a day to be busy about many things like Martha. It is a tough decision to abide by, but still a top priority: WE MUST DO ONLY THE THINGS THAT ARE NECESSARY.
As we near the end of the summer, it's a good time to make a new commitment to do these three things:
1) SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE - Get rid of the extraneous activities and unnecessary time consumptions in your life. Reset your priorities and don't commit to do extra things impulsively.
2) HOE YOUR OWN ROW - Keep hoeing with your hand to God's will, hoeing to the best of your ability in a straight line. The King of kings will one day ask us for an accounting of our stewardship. This includes good stewardship of our talents, abilities, anointings and callings.
3) DO ONLY THOSE THINGS THAT ARE NECESSARY - If you consistently feel yourself busy, worried and bothered about many things, then ask the Lord to help you determine which things are necessary for your life. Wisdom dictates that we ask God often for these guidelines.
Maintaining God's peace while keeping up His pace is found by doing these things. God has never asked us to run faster or longer than our current ability in the spiritual realm. His peace which surpasses all comprehension (Philippians 4:7) will become the ruler and the umpire of our hearts and minds. His pace for my life is found in prayer, sitting at His feet, and learning of Him.
Reprinted with permission from The Psalmist Magazine, Aug./Sept., 1988.