Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Reserved Seating

Recently our Women’s group in an attempt to refresh the title of “Women’s Council” that was established in the 1920’s decided we liked the name M&M’s. Not because we were a bunch of sweet, chocolate loving women. No, it stood for “the Mary and Martha’s” as a reflection of a group of women working together serving in their own way with different approaches the Lord and His family.

When you turn to this all familiar story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42 immediately as you read it the spotlight seems to be on Martha as we hear her words that are still repeated today, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” In other words, “What I’m doing is right and what she is doing is wrong, get after her, she’s the bad one?”

Do you suppose the tone of Jesus’ voice is any different today than it was then as He said, “Martha, Martha, Martha.” Between battles with my stress seizures, low self-esteem, and family matters Christ has said to me many times, “Karen, Karen, Karen” as I got off on a focal point other than that of sitting and listening to the Lord.

Speaking just as peacefully to me as He did to Martha that day as He sat her down and showed her what was truly important. He pointed out to her as He had pointed out to me that she was being worried and upset about many things, but only one thing was needed. To Christ Mary had chosen that “one thing” as she sat at His feet listening to what He had to say.

So easily in our lives we have the tendency to get our priorities mixed up. We get caught up in what the world would view as important and neglect what is imperative in the eyes of God. What Martha was doing was not unimportant but she allowed it to distract her to the point where she was stressed over it and frustrated with Mary for not helping her. Her attitude took over and she became wrapped up in the worldly things and overlooked the importance of spending quality time with the Lord.

Like Martha in the kitchen it doesn’t take much as we allow our attention span to become shortened and easily wander. Soon we find ourselves sounding like Martha as we complain to the preacher, the elders, or other people “why is it always me in the kitchen, doing all the work mopping the floors, why isn’t someone helping me!”

Instantly we are distracted from what is important, doing kitchen duty needs to get done but it can’t take precedence over spending valuable time with our Lord and Savior in Bible study, meditation, prayer, praise and worship. We start out on the right foot but we allow the world to get us off track on what the “one thing” is that should be our focus.

Indeed, things that wind up working against our accomplishment of spending quality time with Jesus listening to what He has to say as we lack the self-discipline to keep our attention on His spoken words. Jesus didn’t tell Mary that day to sit down, she chose that for herself. Just like no one forced Martha to rush into the kitchen to make preparations for a meal that was her choice. The choice today is still ours to make on whether we want to be a Mary or a Martha in our lives.

It’s awesome and comforting to know that we don’t have to “impress Jesus.” Our physical home doesn’t have to be the best, scrubbed clean from top to bottom, decorated beautifully for all to see. What Jesus is after is our spiritual home and the condition in which it is in, as Mary that day was attending as she listened intently to the words of Jesus, not once distracted by what Martha was doing in the kitchen, banging the pots and pans around murmuring to herself that she was doing all the work and Mary was just sitting around visiting.

What Christ was talking to Mary about that day that kept her at His feet is anyone’s guess. What He was to tell us in written in His word for us to read and pay attention to if only we would take the time to stop and do it. Once again the choice is ours, halt at the feet of Jesus or go on to the things of the world that distracts us from that “one thing.”

Dear Heavenly Father help us Lord to find that balance we need in our lives between sitting at Your feet and attending to the cares of the world. It’s important that we get our spiritual feeding from You long before we think about the physical meal we need to prepare for ourselves or our families.

Forgive us for the times that we do get distracted and our priorities shift to the things in life that is not a part of that “one thing” that is more vital and that is spending time listening to what You have to say to us on a day-to-day basis. We love You Lord and thank you for the reserved seating You have for us at Your feet, a place for us to come to, to be listened to and to listen to You. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

© 2007 by Karen J. Gillett

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