To everything there is a season
A time for every purpose under heaven.
A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up…
Remember the story of Mary and Martha? Jesus went to visit His dear friend Lazarus, who He would later raise from the dead. His sisters attended to Christ at dinner, Martha by preparing food and serving her guests, Mary by sitting and Jesus’ feet and listening to His words, anointing Him with oil. Mary’s humble dedication is traditionally seen as an example of the true attitude to have in discipleship—but it’s also a fact, that moments like that don’t come along very often. Martha’s practicality and level-headedness keeps the family home clean, tidy and fed on a day to day basis. The truth of the matter is that we need both identities to be at work in our lives; whether we exemplify Mary or Martha at any given moment based upon the will of God at that time.
The key thing to realize and to enact in ourselves is a readjustment of the way that we view ‘reward’ itself. Taken as a thing, or a moment, ‘reward’ becomes seen as that which you receive that makes everything else worthwhile. It’s wonderful, but ephemeral—transcendent, but transitory. A peak…and then everything else can only be seen as a trough. Taken as an aspect of gratification, this idea of reward can be demoralizing. After all, the moment has passed, right?
Not at all! Now consider this idea of ‘reward’ in a different light. Not merely delight in the receipt of a reward, but that contented joy in taking a rewarding perspective in both the ebb and the flow. Take time to find the little things rewarding, the quiet moments, the process of preparing the ground, the consolidation of your spirit after that great upheaval. You cannot simply work to live. That work should and can be seen as a fulfilling part of your life.
Rather than chasing that reward—the moment of revelation, the outpouring of the Spirit—or missing that surge when the tide recedes again, take comfort in the fact that you have been blessed with the opportunity to consolidate your position, in life and in Christ. The moment hasn’t passed. The moment cannot pass! Every moment that we live is the moment. It’s our moment. All life can be rewarding, with just that subtle alteration in perspective. To quote the poet Bill Watterson, there’s treasure everywhere.
When the tide is high, swim and surf in the sea. At low tide, play on the beach, hunt for crabs! There is no downside to life, only a more rewarding perspective on what God is allowing at that moment. None of this means that we should devalue the ecstatic experience, or the identity of Mary in ourselves, but rather that we should not locate significance and reward in only one place. The Holy Spirit is always present, after all—just in a different aspect. As we remain in Jesus, He teaches us to forever live in the moment, and to find reward and significance in both the ebb and the flow, and to find our moment wherever and whenever we are right now.