For so much of my time in the Lord, I have heard a great deal of teaching as to what the "responsibility" of a believer is. Almost always, this responsibility seemed to be summed up in one word; duty. We have a duty to do good deeds, a duty to be involved in our community and culture.We have a duty to spend time in His Word, in prayer, and of course, a duty to be in church. Now, all of the preceding are good things, very good things, but somehow, when we see them through the lens of duty, we miss Him. Too often, these things are not carried out, lived out in Him, but for Him, and the impetus and strength to live them out comes mostly, if not all, from us. The result of this duty-bound life is inevitably disillusionment, discouragement, and spiritual dreariness. I am coming more and more to see that our great responsibility, the one needful thing for us is to receive all the fullness of the grace He has given us. Not will give, but has already given.
There is a great amount of exhortation in the church today to "be about the Lord's business", and we have been very busy with that business, doing good things in His name in many places. We focus on the deed, but He calls us to focus on the Person, out of which may flow not only deeds, but life. T. Austin-Sparks wrote, "The idea of what is of God today is chiefly associated with things that are being done for Him....The Lord is not concerned with how much we do, but that every bit of it should come out of a knowledge of Himself...The Lord is concerned above all else that we should know Him." To Martha, flustered, duty bound, and resentful towards her sister Mary, Jesus said, "You are concerned about so many things, but only one thing is needful, and Mary has chosen the better part (sitting at His feet in intimate fellowship). Martha was carrying on her work outside the life of Christ. There would be ministry for Mary too, but she would live it out in Him, refreshed, renewed, anointed with His presence. Martha's life reflected that she lived out of a place of duty, of what she thought she should be doing. Mary's came, and would continue to come out of a deep, evergrowing knowledge of Christ. Sparks said we are to be "occupied" with Him....beholding, we are changed.
Our lives will reflect what we're occupied with. Good works done out of duty, ultimately will reflect mainly upon us, not Him. Life, lived out in Him will bring glory to Him, and Him alone. Beholding Him, we are changed. Seeking to imitate Him we will only grow more and more weary, for He can't be imitated. He can only be received. That's our great responsibility. Will you and I take it up?