Being a Mary in the city of success

I love London. I love its diversity, its culture, art, history, greenery and even some of its concrete. I love the pace at which one lives, the constant opportunity to do and see new things and the hope and expectation captured within its borders.

 

Living in the city of potential, there’s a very apparent pressure to succeed and progress. Having resided in the rather leafy west of the city for almost 6 years now, I’m not ignorant to the burden of continual movement and upward motion in which my life should be heading. It’s a burden that frustrates me, because, it’s not one I necessarily agree with. It has somehow entered into my fibres and become part of my expectation that I will swim with the upward tide of London’s successful salmon, and reach the prized pool of the elite.

 

However, biblically, this isn’t my expectation at all and I’m a contradiction to my very self. My belief that my life should be a continual success isn’t unbiblical, but perhaps self-involved and indulgent. To live to aspire to gain the world, only serves to diminish my standing with the Holy Lord, is that not true? Jesus said that whoever loves his life will lose it, but whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

 

Now I’m not suggesting that success in business is a sin, far from it. More so that success as an ultimate goal is a sin. My ultimate goal is to live in communion with Jesus, to serve him as my Lord, and go wherever he goes. Still, I am ambitious in this life. The tension is great.

 

With a desire to know Jesus first, it saddens me therefore that I often relate more to Martha than Mary in Luke chapter 10. I have been known to say, in a flurry of activity, “Lord do you not care?” (Luke 10v40) although of late my disposition has been changing. God is refining me and helping me to sit at his feet. He is shaking off the burden of busy-ness, and building in me a thirst to know his kingdom come in my life. Coming to Jesus before anything else, prioritising him over all other things, is what he calls ‘the good portion’ in Luke 10v42. If I believe Jesus to be holy and perfect, a God who never lies, then I am foolish not to accept the good portion and learn from these examples. Over time sat at his feet, my heart has been changed. Slowly but surely I’m learning not to run blindly with the crowds towards an unknown goal in an unstable world. I’m learning that, in fact, God’s kingdom is not of this world and his plans will not fail. If I can sit and listen to him instead of worrying about my upward trajectory, perhaps I’ll find myself blissfully swimming in a fresh stream of success, one which credit crashes, referendums, house prices or budget cuts will never be able to take away.
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