Saturday, July 17, 2010

one thing is needed

Luke 10:41-42 And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."
Martha and Mary were sisters.  Apparently they were given to hospitality...especially Martha.  We see in Luke chapter 10 that it was Martha who invited Jesus into their home.  Not only was Martha gifted in hospitality, she was also oriented to servanthood.  In fact, when Jesus came into their home her mind seemed to race from one need to another to be handled.  She probably was focused on meal preparation and, with the Disciples and others following Jesus, that would have been quite a challenge (and this was before the days of Costco and Sam's Club).  Jesus had attained quite a reputation and Martha was excited to have this celebrity in her own home.  Sleeping arrangements had to be considered and perhaps Martha also saw the need to repair worn footwear and mend torn clothing.  After all, it doesn't seem that Jesus was often in places where those needs could be met.  Martha's natural inclination to serve just took over.  Her greatest frustration was that her own sister, Mary, didn't see the obvious and even lift a finger to help her!  But Mary had crossed some kind of spiritual river in her personal life.  She knew that she wasn't just in the presence of a celebrity, or even a great man.  She was in the presence of the Lord, Himself, come to earth.  She could think of nothing beyond sitting before Him and drinking in His words.  When it came time for Martha to speak with Jesus all she could think of was what to ask Him to relieve her of some of her burdens...In fact she actually tried to direct the Lord as to what He should do about it:  "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." , she implored Jesus. 
We may have many good intentions as we live in the company of our Lord.  After all, He has come to stay at each of our homes...if we have trusted in Him.  We may be motivated to get busy and use our gifts...but we may launch off in our own personal direction rather than following His lead.  We may become frustrated with others who don't seem to "get it" and who seem lost in some kind of heavenly dream land.  Our prayer life may consist of self-centered concerns and we may try to guide the Lord's actions, like Martha.  But I think it is good to remember Jesus' words to Martha when He said "one thing is needed".  The one thing we all must do in our lives is to sit at Jesus feet and listen to Him.  We are not long for this world and we will be in the next.  Now is a precious time to discover the beauty of our creative God in the context of this fallen world, because the darkness of our age provides a black velvet backdrop for His shining glory.  And as we consider Him, quietly, we see Him...we hear Him and we love Him...and ultimately we will reflect Him to others.
Rob Smith

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