We all live very busy lives. A well-ordered life can be reduced to setting the right priorities. If there is one thing in your life that supersedes everything else, what would you think it is? No, not what you would say to satisfy what you think someone would want you to say, but because it is what you believe to be the most necessary part of life.
Just about every day of my life, just like you, is filled with dozens of things that need to be done. However, according to Jesus there is only one thing that is necessary. Luke recorded his teaching.
“Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then 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 one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10 38-42
In this account as researched and described by Luke, the traveling companion of the Apostle Paul, Martha welcomed Jesus into her home. And by use of the word used by Luke and by extension God who inspired him, the word “welcomed” means to receive someone as under their personal responsibility. How strange and ironic it is to become responsible for the God who created all things and who knows everything.
Speaking of God’s knowledge the Psalmist has this to say, “O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar, You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways.” (Psalm 139:1-3)
Martha was a person who did not know Jesus very well, if at all. If she has been intimate with Jesus, as He was with her, she would have known that He did care. In fact, very shortly He would show that He cared enough to go to the cross to suffer the wrath of God, in order to secure the salvation of those who would come to believe in Him to be saved from the penalty of their sins.
Such was the case with Martha’s sister Mary. Of her God’s word says she was sitting at Jesus’s feet and “listening” to His words. By definition, she was eager to hear the teaching, and continually listen to it. For this reason she left the distraction of serving with Martha. Mary had set her priorities upon Jesus, and she was not going to become distracted by anything.
To the contrary Martha was “distracted,” and by definition she was drawn in different directions, a continuing neglect. And by what was she distracted? She was distracted by her “preparations.” Preparations is not a bad word; it means ministry; active service, done with a willing (voluntary) attitude. It’s not that she was off somewhere doing something evil, not by any means. She wanted everything to be in order for her guest.
Her statement, however, reveals something more about her attitude, perspective, and priorities. She said, “Do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” Martha accused Jesus of not caring and before He could reply she told Him what to say. She was right in her mind about the whole situation and she was going to give Jesus a piece of her mind.
AN UNUSUAL PRAYER TIME
Prior to last Saturday morning, I invite men to attend a prayer meeting. In some cases the invitation was given in person. At times, the looks received would have been funny, if it were not a serious matter. Spending time with God should never be viewed as optional, unless of course God would rather you do something else. In the case of the hour in which Jesus was betrayed, He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, and he asked his disciples to watch with Him. Three times He prayed and three times He returned to find them sleeping. He said to them the same thing all three times, “Could you not watch with me for one hour? That means He prayed for three hours into the wee hours of the morning. There is nothing more important than spending time with Jesus through His word, and then praying back to Him what we know to be true, through worship, thanksgiving, confession, and intercession.
Our prayer time was set from 3 A.M. until 8. One of my brothers confessed, that when it was time to get up he said to himself, what in world was Joe thinking? Then he realized that the thought was probably not originating from within him. In the mind of the devil the worst thing that any Christian can do is to pray.
COUNSEL TO AN ANXIOUS WOMAN
Jesus said to Martha, “Martha, Martha,” He said her name twice, He no doubt wanted her to know for certain that He knew her very well, in fact better than she knew herself. He went on to say, “you are worried.” The Lord told her that she was anxious about a great many things. However, there is only one things in life that is “necessary”. By definition, “Necessary” denotes need or the condition of one deprived of those things which he is scarcely able to do without.
Then He turns His thoughts to the woman that Martha wanted Him to reprove and said, “Mary has chosen” with a real heart-preference; as the object on which the mind of the chooser was as it were fixed. According to Jesus, Mary’s heart was fixed upon “the good” that is, what is inherently (intrinsically) good; as to the believer, such a term describes what originates from God and is empowered by Him in their life, through faith. Mary chose to fix her attention on what Jesus had to say.
Mary chose Jesus, while Martha was distracted. Under the umbrella of Christianity many people are distracted, and it is not as though they are out to do evil things. For this reason Jesus spoke of the way to heaven in the following terms. “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13, 14)
Have you found Jesus or just another distraction that you call Jesus?
In seeing the Jesus of the Bible, we see the truth about the world, sinners, and saints. Only in seeing Jesus can we understand what God intended all men to become, according to the plan He set in motion, and the only means available to accomplish the unthinkable. The means God used to accomplish the unthinkable is Himself in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The unthinkable task that He alone accomplishes is to change hopelessly wicked and damned sinners into pure and holy saints destined for glory with Him.