As a child I can remember being deep in imaginary play, preparing for the Queen to come to tea. The colourful playhouse in the garden was given a ‘clean’ and mud pie ‘puddings’ lovingly ‘baked’ in excited anticipation. The thing is I never remember the Queen coming. Fancy that! Somehow all the preparation counted for nothing as I waved flags outside the playhouse waiting for her carriage to arrive.
I’ve always loved the story of Jesus’ visit to Martha & Mary and willingly admit that the Martha genes are often too predominant in my life. But I also know that I’ve struggled with a sense of condemnation in this at times. Would Jesus tick me off in the same way he does Martha (Luke 10 41-42)? Would he point me towards someone in our community as an example of making a better choice?
What Martha was doing was by no means a bad thing. In a very practical and functional sense, she was acting as servant to all, just as Christ commanded and modelled. She may have begun with the best of motives but when she missed listening to Christ and made something other than Him the focus of her attention, her perspective, and her service, became self-centered.
Today we move onto the second focus in our sermon series on serving – practical ministries – and the challenge is to hold onto the motive for our service. The ultimate truth is that God sacrificed the life of his Son for us, allowing him to suffer the most excruciating and humiliating death so that we can know his love and forgiveness. If we keep this in our hearts and minds and allow our gratitude to motivate our service then we glorify his name. Because it’s him we serve, expressing our love for him in service to others.
So, as we consider how we can serve our God and King practically, let’s not get so taken up with the preparing that we lose sight of the motivation. The truth is no amount of mud pies will bring glory if they’re prepared for the wrong monarch!