Our church in Alabama went to Matamoros, Mexico to build a church. We were dependent on a Baptist leader in Matamoros for supplies and building materials. I discovered the Mexican people have a more casual approach to life than we Americans. About mid-week of our trip our supplier began running behind in securing supplies. We went to the job site one morning, expecting supplies to be present, only to discover they would not be delivered for several hours. As we discussed the delay our Mexican host shared his perception of our “driven” mentality. In leading up to the trip, the host and I had talked several times on the phone. He said he expected me to be seven feet tall (actually I am 5’9”). He based that on my impatient, driven manner. He made that observation as we spoke on the phone. Ouch!
As I ponder the driven mentality I am reminded of Jesus’ encounter with Martha, as recorded in Luke 10:38-42. Jesus had gone to be a guest in the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. As Jesus visited in their home Mary sat at his side cherishing the moment. However, Martha rattled pots and pans as she worked to prepare a meal. Martha was irritated with Mary for failing to assist in the kitchen. Martha’s driven behavior was a source of tension. Jesus led Martha to see the error of her ways.
What is wrong with being driven? First, being driven causes us to miss some of the rare opportunities in life. Jesus was headed to a cross. Martha might not have the opportunity to sit at his feet again. Even so, a workaholic parent might miss a child’s first step (and other rare precious moments in their child’s life). If you do not have time to savor the small things you might miss the profound things of life. Martha’s driven behavior caused her to miss the opportunity to sit at Jesus feet.
Another problem with being driven is that it affects our relationship with others. The driven lifestyle may cause us to put undue pressure on others. A friend of mine, who counsels ministers, said he counsels many ministers who are struggling because of the pressure they receive from senior pastors. His take on such situations is that some senior pastors are driving their staff in an inappropriate manner. On the one hand, leaders have a responsibility to challenge their subordinates. However, Christian leaders should be careful to avoid the high pressure tactics of society. In Luke 10, Martha was critical of Mary and judged her for her failure to help with the serving.
The driven lifestyle may reflect a trust issue. The Bible has much to say about waiting on the Lord. "The Lord requires us to be faithful but this faithfulness is to be faithful to Him and not to try and impress others." The word wait refers to trusting or depending on God for provision. A driven person might consider the following: Do I trust God to provide? Do I trust God to keep His promises? Am I allowing the flesh to drive my actions? We should ask the question: What is the driving force behind my behavior? Are you driven by the right motive?