As they continued their journey, he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary [who] sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
We live in the most distracted, frenetic society of all time. It is tempting in such a society to think we are good Christians and deserve applause because we look to God from time to time out of the corner of our eye.
But the fullness of truth, the fullness of life, the fullness of grace deserves our full attention. Jesus really cannot be merely a part of one’s life, but must be the center of one’s life. It does not mean that our life can’t be full of activities. But unless we preserve some quiet time each day to sit at his feet as did Mary, our action will become distraction and we’ll be as snappy and unhappy as Martha.
It’s all about choice and we choose every day. We can be enveloped by the busyness of life or we can carve out time to learn about and to dialogue with Jesus Christ. It is a conscious choice and it should tell each of us what we truly value. Our task is to choose to shape our lives accordingly.
Jesus doesn’t congratulate Mary because she won the spiritual lottery or had received a particularly beautiful soul from God. He praises her because she has “chosen the better part.” She chooses it. The highest priority in our lives needs to be choosing the good part, as Mary did: to learn of Jesus so that we can become like Him. It’s a love and devotion to Him that makes everything else of secondary importance. It is to seek the riches of wisdom and understanding that are in Him. If we don’t do this, how can we follow Him, how can we be His disciples?
Early in my ministry, a parishioner gave me a needle point that I will cherish forever. It read: “May My Life Be A Prayer.” Six words that contain such meaning. Live a life that is pleasing to God by enriching the lives of those you meet. But always remember that the Giver needs to be given to. We need time with Him to recharge so that we can be effective for Him.
That is why I believe that a true Christian life calls all of us to be both active and contemplative, to use our gifts, doing our daily chores in such a joyful way that we make our work a prayer, being especially glad that our most important work is to be present to one another and to Our Lord.
Each and every time we choose to give Christ and his will priority in our lives, we are pleasing him and extending the borders of his Kingdom in our lives. And every time we bring his message to others, we give them a chance to do the same.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, to be in your presence is life and joy for me. Free me from needless concerns and preoccupations that I may give you my undivided love and attention.”
The wrong choice that Martha made wasn’t that she was serving and doing good. It was that in her work she had demands and criticism on Mary, rather than doing what Jesus taught herself! If we are living before the face of God, we have no cause to look around at what others are doing and feel that we have a right to pass judgement on them. We live in obedience to the Spirit’s promptings in our own lives, and what others do is none of our business. We don’t know how He is leading others.