2008-01-03 - The Good Part
Luke 10:42, "Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken from her."
Most of us are familiar with the Mary and Martha account in the Gospel of Luke. Mary sat at Jesus' feet and listened to Jesus, while Martha was hurrying about, making sure everything was perfect. Martha approaches Jesus and says to the effect, "I'm so glad you are here, and I am working my tail off to make everything perfect. Doesn't it bother you that my sister Mary just sits there listening to you, and lets me do all the work?" Jesus gives a mild attitude readjustment to Martha, and tells her that Mary is right where He would have her be. Before we even go any further, let's draw a quick lesson here: Our faith is not of the highest order, if we are more focused on our practice than we are on the perfection of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a hard statement for some of us. But let us never be so caught up in doing, doing, doing, that we take our eyes off Christ. "Mary has chosen the good part."
As we have started a new year, I thought it might be helpful to glance at the character of Mary. Mary's character was such, and may it be with us also, that she focused less on bodily cares than she did on spiritual cares. We have a responsibility to care for our bodies, but these bodies will not last. They will go the way of the Earth, but our souls live to eternity. The religion of "the soul in Christ" is of much greater importance than earthly vanities that so often steal our attention. Mary paid attention to the one thing needful, and we would be wise to do so also. As the New Year is upon us, I would ask you a question, "Have you chosen the good part?" Only you know the degree to which you strive and struggle after the passing gewgaws of this earth. Only you really know whether your affections are set on eternal things. There is a mix in all of us, to be sure, but where do your propensities lie? Where is your heart most set? Are you busy in the kitchen like Martha, or are you sitting at the Lord's feet? Have you chosen the good part?
There is a tendency in us all to be ever doing, but many have found in history, that the most productive hours of their days were those hours that were spent alone, in prayer, and communion with the Lord. We are prone to plunge head-first into works that will never come to any perfection, until they have first been bathed in the precious blood of Christ. We must first come to Christ, before we carry out our worldly tasks. The Reformer Martin Luther once told a friend that "Tomorrow will be a very busy day." We would be prone to tell our friend that we needed to make sure we get a good night's rest. Luther told his friend that, in light of the hectic day ahead, he must rise even earlier to spend more time in prayer. May we all have such a passion for communion with the Lord during this coming year.
Soli Deo Gloria,