When I first became a Christian, I was encouraged by those who helped me find Jesus as my Savior, to go right into the "work"; one day -- a spiritual baby, the next -- a Martha, worried and bothered and busy with many things.
"Now as they were traveling along, Jesus entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. And she had a sister called Mary, who moreover was listening to the Lord's word, seated at His feet.
But Martha was distracted with much serving and she came to Him and said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? ...Tell her to help me.'
But the Lord answered and said to her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.'"
Luke 10: 38-42
Without even a look in His direction I took on the yoke, the workload, of my congregation, believing I was serving and pleasing God. I was soon involved in many phases of church work -- I had the mistaken idea that if someone from my church asked me to take a job, it was God's will for me. And trying to be faithful, I worked until I was physically and spiritually exhausted. Not for one moment did I dream that God had made plans for me, or that He had laid out and prepared a work for me to accomplish for Him, a path for me to walk.
"For we are God's handiwork recreated in Christ Jesus that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us, (taking paths which He prepared ahead of time) that we should walk in them."
I had been so busy "serving" I did not notice what Jesus had said:
"Come to Me all who work to exhaustion, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is pleasant (easy, kindly), and My load is light."
How could I have missed that! But I did. And I worked myself to exhaustion, believing I was doing His work, believing I was serving Him. And when I finally sat at His feet like Mary, Jesus taught me that even His works on earth were planned beforehand, the paths He walked, the words He spoke, the judgments He gave were already laid out for Him by His Father. He did nothing on His own initiative.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself except it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He is doing..."
John 5:19, 20
"...He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world... I do nothing on My own initiative... and He who sent Me is with Me, He has not left Me alone, I always do the things that are pleasing to Him."
"By this we know that we are in Him, the one who says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same manner as He walked."
1 John 2:4-6