"But Martha was distracted with much serving."
Every hair does not have to be perfectly placed. Your body doesn't have to fit into that size 5 dress. Your lawn doesn't have to be manicured. Your test doesn't have to be a 95 or above.
Such words can be heresy to some people. "You just don't understand," they would mutter. "That's not good enough."
They are the perfectionists.
At least that's what they are often called. They can also be called driven, goal oriented, and disciplined. Others, however, may call them by their more derogatory names, such as "obsessive" or "compulsive."
She's a stickler for detail. He's meticulous about the particulars. But, when it all boils down, they both have to be the best of the best.
While we should strive to "be holy as he is holy," we also need to recognize that we are sinners. We'll never reach God's standard. And, really, if we have a perfectionist's spirit, we're probably not walking in the Spirit and achieving the kind of perfection God has in mind.
There are different ways this plays out. Julie might look the part of one who is the epitome of humanity: she excels in school, she's fit, her kids always look like the ideal family.
Pull back the curtain of her heart and you'll find that things are not as righteous as they seem. Julie's inner life is anything but reflective of the external, pristine order that she conveys. She's always worried about what her friends will think of her. She doesn't want to disappoint her ever so proud (and demanding?) Papa. She's killing her self keeping up with all the perceptions others have (or the perceptions she imagines them to have).
The same is true for Darrin, though they differ in some of the details. Darrin isn't worried about what other's think, but he has his standards. He's got to be the best. That's why his presentations always kill it. They make the impression and get the sell every time.
But his work takes him late into the night each day. The hunt for the promotion has taken its toll, especially on his wife and kids. They have all been laid on the Alter of Perfection.
I don't want you to be confused: we may seek perfection. God delights in obedience. But the perfectionist typically isn't seeking perfection in the sphere of morality. It's his own perfection. It's a perfection of some aspect of his life, but not so much his soul. Instead of righteousness, perfection is thought of in terms of success, image, or performance.
Martha was in the same boat. She wanted a perfect home. Jesus was there, after all. The perfect meal needed prepared. A tidy atmosphere had to be kept.
Those were all good things, no doubt. But none of it concerned real sanctification for God's glory. None of it was achieving the kind of perfection that really mattered.
Thankfully, Jesus was there and he brought deliverance to her soul. The Perfect One is the savior of the perfectionist-wanna-be. It wasn't about the goals she had set or the perceptions she had. It was about her heart and where its should focus should be.
The gospel is the cure all for the perfectionist. Julie may rest in knowing that the only thing that really matters is God's evaluation of her in Christ. Darrin may find that God's provision is enough and his grace is sufficient. Martha may not worry about the dust bunnies. Rather she may gain assurance in knowing that Christ desires communion more than a 7 course meal.
In sum, when the Lord comes first and we are focused on the gospel, the perfectionist can be perfected. Grace puts the goals in line and our strivings can center on the real issues of on God's heart.
American Church History
The American church is a unique thing. Many rivers have combined to form what it is today. Join us on Sunday evenings as we begin to explore the roots of the American church and how it has developed through the ages. From Puritans to big tent revivals to big box churches, we'll see what God hath done among us.
Membership @ Hopewell
We at Hopewell Church believe that covenanting together in formal membership is a biblical way to show our devotion to Christ. If you would like to come under the care of the leadership through membership, we invite you to learn more and let us know your interest.