Dear Church Family,
I thought that while many of us are staying home, we might have a little more time for reflections on the ways of our Lord and the ways of His Kingdom. Following is something I learned today:
First, take a moment to read Luke 10:38-42. Please don't read here until you have read it there. The Word is much more effective in teaching than anything I have to say. This is a beautiful passage speaking about people sharing a meal with each other and with Christ.
However, we are told in John 21:25,
"And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they *were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself *would not contain the books that *would be written."
This makes me think that whatever events are recorded, out of all the events that took place in His earthly ministry, must have been intentionally selected to equip us to live and work effectively in The Kingdom.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NASB)
"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."
So as I reflect upon what lesson from this event will equip us for good works, I notice right away that Martha is doing good works. She is busy working to prepare a meal for Christ and His followers. Mary, on the other hand, is doing nothing except listening to Jesus. In NASB Jesus says Mary had chosen the good part. A little better rendition for the way we speak is found in the NIV, "Mary has chosen what is better." Better than what? Better than what Martha has chosen must be the answer.
Now we may disagree with this in our hearts. We may say to ourselves, "But if Martha doesn't cook, and Mary doesn't cook, then no one will be able to eat." In fact, some have expressed frustration to me because they would like to take Mary's role but find themselves always stuck in the role of Martha. They will say to me, "That is all well and good but in real life, someone has to do the cooking." And they are right. But what if the lesson Jesus has chosen to teach us is not about an either/or proposition but rather a "how-to" instruction?
Consider with me a moment. The church is busy with Kingdom work. We are feeding the poor, visiting the sick, comforting those who mourn, teaching the children, preparing worship, loving our neighbors, pulling weeds around the church building and a myriad of other things I can't list here. And we are just like Martha. We are doing all of this because we love Him and because we love to do for Him. And, all this must be done. However, it is way too easy to neglect the better or the good part as we rush to the lesser part.
One of my life verses is John 15:5 (NASB).
"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing."
I think what Jesus is teaching us is that before you go to the kitchen to cook, make sure you do the better part which is to "abide in me." Each one of us must become a Mary and a Martha. Mary alone doesn't get the work done. Martha alone gets only done what Martha can do alone; which isn't what He desires. Together the abider and the doer please His heart with their company and accomplish much more because He blesses the work of their hands. Martha needed to sit for a bit with Mary and Jesus, then both needed to get up and prepare the meal. And can I tell you a secret? If they had, Jesus would have been in the kitchen with them using His power to turn the water into wine and the hamburgers into Ruth's Chris steaks.
Let us use this downtime the virus has caused to do some Mary-staying before we have to get back to the Martha-doing. Then let us make this a life habit. We all abide first, then we all do together. And I remain;