Luke 10:41-42 “And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
There is a certain element of pride in us that desires our work to be acknowledged and appreciated. There are not many who could labor for a lifetime without wanting to hear that they have done something right; something worthwhile along the way. The fact that we did our best; we put forth more effort than any other by comparison should at least merit some acknowledgment? Shouldn’t it?
Our very existence is validated by those around us noticing that what we say, what we do has made an impact on their life. A boss stopping their busy schedule to give a heartfelt praise to a coworker; a friend arranging a meeting to speak words of gratitude and thanks for a deed done seemingly unnoticed.
A parent who sees the effort of a child to accomplish a task, obey what they’ve been told, or submit to the admonition of their parents can warm a heart to want to continue in the path that pleases the object of our love.
Lazarus, Mary and Martha had a very special relationship with our Lord. He often frequented their home for a meal, for lodging and for fellowship. As they grew to know Him as Savior and Messiah, they desired that fellowship more and more. Desiring to show love to the One who brought salvation to them was in their mind and in their heart.
How Mary and Martha decided to show that love illustrates the difference between religion and biblical salvation.
Galatians 4:5 “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
We are first saved unto God to enter into relationship with Him. Sin, the great divider, separated us from our Heavenly Father. God’s plan fulfilled in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ brought to us an open door to a close, personal relationship with the Father.
After salvation, finding that particular work that God has gifted us to do can be one of the most satisfying endeavors. Knowing that I am doing what my Heavenly Father wants me to do, where He wants me to do it and for whom; brings peace, draws me close and causes me to seek out the best in me to give to Him to accomplish what I was created to do.
When I focus on my relationship with God through my devotion – bible reading, meditation, memorization and study; prayer and praise; I can draw strength find comfort, be covered with peace and love that I will need when I go out to do what it is I have been gifted to do. This is where we find Mary. She coveted the place at Jesus’ feet where she learned, loved and felt that love.
When you and I are in the presence of someone we love, time seems to be suspended. Our thoughts and focus are rapt upon the presence of the One with whom we are spending time. While many of us have that special, significant person; whether spouse, friend or mentor, we function best after we have been with them. The work doesn’t seem so tedious and mundane. The time doesn’t seem to drag on.
But work, without the relationship, without the affirmation, love and attention, becomes just that. Here we find Martha. She chose to show her love for her Savior by what she could do FOR Him instead of spending time WITH Him. Denominational religion that does not teach biblical salvation, thinks to show their love in service to a god they do not know and does not know them.
I think one of the applications I’ve gleaned from this passage is that I must start my day in relationship WITH God before I ever think to go out to do things FOR God. For what I find in relationship with Him, I need when in service for Him. Whether wisdom, comfort, peace, joy, love, resilience, courage, joy or power; all of these and more are available if I would but ask.
Often, after having served in a capacity for awhile, I find I grow comfortable with what I know. I salve my conscience with the fact that I know more than some; and at times, I know more than most. Pride subtly steps in and convinces us we have no need to place such importance on relationship – and we begin to grow distant from the source of our power and strength.
Mary sought that good part – Jesus said so. He chose to mentor Martha about the direction her heart had taken and helped her chose what was best. The work will always be there – do what is needed and necessary, but place priority and a premium on the the time we spend with the Savior!