Jul
24

Making the Right Choice

By

busynessWe make a thousand choices every day, beginning from the first moment our eyes open.

Will I get up now?

Or will I stay in bed a little longer?

Will I drink one cup of coffee or two?

Creamer or black?

Breakfast or not?

Check my email?

Facebook?

Twitter?

Shower?

Wash my hair?

Read my Bible?

Meditate?

Exercise?

In fact, our ability to choose is one of the ways that we are made in the image of God and it is one of the things that has confounded mankind for centuries. Why would God give us the ability – and the right- to choose incorrectly? Why would God allow us to make choices that would harm us – even to the extent of choosing heaven or hell? Well, that is a theological debate for another day – or not – I’ll choose later:)

I’ve often heard it said we make our own choices, and then those choices make us. How painfully true I’ve found that to be at times! But on the flip side, our good choices make room for a good results in our lives.

Luke 10 records the story of Mary and Martha. Most Christians have heard a dozen sermons on Mary and Martha, many of which make Martha look like a selfish woman. Yet, how often can we identify with Martha? There is just so much to do in a day! Think of how you would feel if you were hosting an event at your home with Jesus and several more people. You’d want them to feel honored. You would want to serve them some great food. Everything would need to be clean. I imagine that most of us would rather quickly get caught up in the swirl of activity.

Luke 10:38-42 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things,but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

We applaud Mary for sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening. We look down on Martha for her choice. It’s all so black and white to us, as most things are in hindsight. And there has been so much said about Mary and Martha, so many lessons we can look at but for today I only want to focus on a few thoughts about this real-life story.

  1. Martha made a good choice by inviting Jesus into her home.

  2. Sometime after her initial good choice, she got lost in the swirl of activity and failed to make the most of the opportunity which was, so to speak, right at her front door.

  3. Martha got distracted. Need I say more? I assume you can apply that to your own life.

  4. She got distracted by all that needed to be done. Was she distracted because of her own need to perform? Her need to impress? Perhaps it was her godly desire to serve? The Greek word used here in the original is literally “with much serving”. Ugh, she got distracted by her serving.

  5. Martha complained to Jesus. I imagine that she had been stewing for quite a while before she got up her courage to actually complain to Jesus. Perhaps what she wanted to say to Jesus was, “Hey, I am doing all this because of you and if you really appreciate it, you need to tell Mary to get off her butt and help me.” (that’s the Southern translation). Call it what you will, but the heart of this matter is that MARTHA TRIED TO CONTROL MARY AND JESUS. Do you realize that if God gives us the right to make choices, we also have to give others that right?

  6. Jesus cut through the exterior of what Martha was saying and got to the heart of the matter. I don’t think he was primarily rebuking her. I think he kindly addressed her, very personally, saying her name twice – purposefully. He then acknowledged her emotions. You see, I believe Jesus wanted to bring the truth about Martha’s emotions out on the table, so to speak. He wanted Martha to see that her choices had led to her emotional state of being upset and worried. Jesus wants us to honestly acknowledge our emotions, whether they be anger or worry or fear or… Then we can deal appropriately with them. Before Jesus said anything about Mary, he first lead Martha into the depths of her own heart.

  7. Jesus offered Martha an opportunity to refocus. He said, “…only one thing is needed.” Basically, he didn’t bash Martha for the cooking, cleaning, and organizing, he simply offered her an opportunity to tune in her GPS. Her focus was to be on Jesus, not what needed to be done, and not on Mary. Jesus still speaks to us this way today. He kindly lets us know that we are not to compare ourselves to others in order to prove our worth, but we are to set our aim on him. I really don’t think Jesus was comparing Martha to Mary, as some suggest, because he never does that in the Word. He compared where Martha’s heart was at that moment to where it needed to be.

  8. Jesus affirmed Mary’s choice. In fact, he said it was a BETTER choice. Again, I don’t think he was comparing or putting Martha down. He was addressing what I believe was underlying Martha’s frustration in the first place. SHE WANTED TO BE SITTING AT JESUS’ FEET HERSELF. Jesus affirms that the position of sitting at his feet, listening to his teaching, being with him, is truly a better position than the one that is so busy with “doing” that we forget “being”.

  9. Jesus said, “It will not be taken away from Mary.” He basically said, “I am not going to ask her to get distracted with all the doing because she is being and that is something she will never lose.” Fast forward, what about a few years later. Mary still had, in her spiritual bank, the deposit she made that day by sitting at Jesus’ feet. And perhaps Martha took the opportunity to do so after her conversation with Jesus, but assuming that she did not, what did she have in her spiritual bank from that day? Was it a deposit or a withdrawal?

Well, there is so much more we could say on this topic, but let’s end by reflecting on these questions.

Is your approach to the Christian life one of “doing” or “being”?

Is your approach to the Christian life filled with “shoulds” and “have tos”?

Does your service for Christ leave you feeling pressured, distracted, and disconnected from Jesus?

Are you centering your life on knowing Jesus, sitting at his feet, and receiving from his presence?

Do you spend time enjoying God?

Do you try to control others and even God Himself?

There is so much that does need to be done in this life in our service of Christ. But let’s all take some time out to check and see if our service is being done in a way that builds us up or tears us down – spiritually, emotionally, and even physically. Our body, soul, and spirit are to be sanctified for the glory of God.

Are there changes you need to make today? Take a deep breath – or two – or several. Quiet your busy mind and emotions and spend some time at Jesus’ feet today. What you gain will never be taken away from you. It’s the right choice!

 

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Categories : Jesus

Comments

  1. Kimberly Standridge says:

    Beautifully written! I used to always compare myself to Mary and think Martha should be ashamed of herself for working while JESUS was in her home. But as I have gotten older and have a few more responsibilities I can definately see how easy it was for Martha to think she was doing the best thing at the time. It is funny how God shows us our humanity. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
    Love you

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