The Most Needful Thing

Life Notes—July 15, 2010 

“But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, so she came to him and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself?  Tell her then to help me.’  But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’”  Luke 10:40-42 

I’m sure you know Mary and Martha.  Certainly not the sisters that Jesus visited in the passage above, but the essence of Mary and Martha is manifested in every generation.  Mary likes to visit and be in relationship.  You’ll find Mary with others: talking, listening, laughing and relating.  Martha is a busy-body and cannot sit still when there is work to be done.  And when isn’t there work to be done?  There is cooking, cleaning, children to care for, lawns to mow, email to answer and on and on and on.  The Martha’s of the world may consider the Mary’s of the world lazy and irresponsible.  The Mary’s of the world may consider the Martha’s as high-strung and a little holier-than-thou.  No doubt, the battle has raged through every generation. 

In the scripture story Jesus comes to the home of Mary and Martha and while Martha is busy in the kitchen, Mary sits at Jesus’ feet and listens.  While Martha is working for Jesus, Mary is being with Jesus.  Martha is furious and asks Jesus to rebuke Mary for not helping her prepare for their guests.  Instead, Jesus gently rebukes Martha for having her priorities turned around.  We have many chances to eat, and few people will starve by missing one meal.  But they had only one chance to sit at the feet of Jesus, in their own home, and just be with him.  I’ve found that many tasks needing to be done are still there, still needing to be done, tomorrow. 

I have a little bit of both Mary and Martha in me.  I’m probably a little heavier on the Mary side than Martha.  But in all honesty, both Mary-and-Martha-traits are important.  There are times to focus on the work needing to be done, and there are times to rest, relax, listen and learn.  Our challenge is in deciding which is the most needful thing for any given moment.  When we spend time with Jesus, does he find us ‘in the kitchen’ or sitting attentively at his feet?  The choice is ours. 

Tom’s sermon title (downtown) is “Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There!,” from Luke 10:38-42.  Mitch’s title (west) is “Abraham Was A Radical,” from Genesis 18:1-10a.  The children from Vacation Bible School will sing at the 9:30 and 10:45 services.  Life worship begins at 10:45 in Brady hall.  Traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary.  Contemporary worship at the west campus is at 9:30. 

Come home to worship this Sunday.  Strugglers welcome!

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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