THAT rather amusing story of how the sisters Martha and Mary received Christ in their home highlights a very important aspect of our life. (cfr. 10,38-42) And that is that we have to know and live well the proper relationship between God and our work.
As the gospel story narrates, both sisters were obviously very happy to have Christ in their home. But Martha, the elder one, showed that joy by busying herself preparing things for Christ. It was Mary, the younger one, who appeared to be doing nothing other than staying close to Christ.
When Martha complained about Mary to Christ, she was corrected and clearly told, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”
While what Martha did was truly good, what made it somehow wrong was when she failed to recognize the priority of prayer over work. Better said, she failed to make her work a form of prayer as it should be, since any work should be a form of prayer. Work should be a means to lead us to God, to glorify him even as it contributes to the good of everybody else also. It should sanctify us.
We need to make this truth of our Christian faith better known, appreciated and lived. We cannot deny that many are those who fail to see, let alone, live the intimate relationship between our work and God and the others.
Very often, our work has become a function of our self-indulgence or self-interest only. Very often, we work to achieve self-satisfaction, or at best, to meet the needs of the family or of some special group. Its relation to God is often taken for granted. Its purpose of sanctifying us, the others and the world itself, is practically ignored.
We need to remember that as our Christian faith tells us, God created us to work just as He created the birds to fly. (cfr. Job 5,7) As such, God designed any work we have as a way to relate ourselves with God, and because of God, with everybody and everything else in this world.
It’s when we work with this truth of our Christian faith in mind that we can truly do a lot of good. Ignoring or, worse, contradicting this truth would only lead us to a lot evil that can cover itself with a lot of transitory and false joy and sense of achievement.
Let’s also remember that God has designed any work in this world as a way to lead us to God. If we work with God always in mind, we would always follow the moral and spiritual laws that govern our work. Ignoring God in our work would only lead us to all kinds of immorality—greed, avarice, lust, envy, etc.
We need to spread this truth of our Christian faith about work more widely. Our different institutions of learning should be experts in carrying out this duty. Of course, the parents should inculcate this truth as soon as their children can understand things.
We should not be interested only in acquiring knowledge and skills. Their pursuit should lead us to God and to the others, never just self-interest. We should not be interested only in gaining money, power and prestige. Most important and indispensable should be desire to be truly holy as God wants us to be.