Luke 10:38-42 (NKJV) Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Most interpretations of this scripture deal with the opposing concepts of devotion and service. Many sermons have been delivered about the fact that Mary was at Jesus’ feet listening to what He had to say–while Martha was all caught up in her work.
I would like to take a little time to look at another message we can draw from this important scripture. It is an accepted fact that we should not be so consumed with service for the Lord that we don’t spend time listening for His voice. What I want to look at in this story is something a little bit more subtle; something I have never heard addressed from any pulpit. What I want to look at is the element in the story that involves ‘expectations’.
In this life it is so easy to get caught up in someone else’s vision because we want their approval. In many ministries, there is the expectation that you must get in there and serve, if you love the Lord. People who are seen doing a lot of outward service are elevated and others who aren’t, can’t, or have chosen not to–might begin to feel that they must not be doing enough…or that they’re not as spiritual.
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It is interesting that this story involves two sisters. It could have been just ‘two women’. But God’s choice was that the story be about two sisters. The picture is painted of a behavior pattern that occurs a lot in families, but not only in families. The behavior pattern is the natural tendency of one person being made to feel like an outcast because they haven’t worked as hard as another–or because they chose to follow a calling that was not like the rest of the family.
The thing we have to remember in this life is that God made us all different. If He had wanted us to all be exactly alike, He could have easily created clones instead of human beings. As the infinitely creative one, He gave each of us a unique identity and a beautiful, one of a kind mind—like no one else’s. Some people want to make everyone else do things their way and if they don’t—well, they just don’t fit in…or maybe they are even excluded.
If you are trying to recover from depression or dependency, chances are–you have been buried by the guilt of not living up to other people’s expectations—or you are dealing with the disappointing reality that other people have not lived up to yours.
If you don’t learn your own calling and begin to operate comfortably in it—you will go through life constantly trying to live up to other people’s expectations or feeling like a failure because you haven’t been able to do what someone else thinks you should. God has something special and unique for you—and you don’t have to be ashamed of that. If He hasn’t revealed what it is yet, you don’t have to be ashamed of that either. Don’t be tempted to become absorbed in someone else’s identity—ask God to show you your own.
Declaration: I release my guilt of not living up to other people’s expectations and I choose to forgive, release, and bless those people who have not lived up to mine.
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