Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A visit at Martha's house, part 17: Priority

But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:41-42 NASB)

We come now to the last phrase in our Lord's reply to Martha, and it is beautiful. Listen with your heart to these words again, "Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her." In the midst of many choices and distractions, Mary had positioned herself at the feet of our Lord, and He defended her choice. In fact, His words left no doubt. What she had chosen "shall not" be taken away from her. The important part of Mary's choice was not just that she initially made the choice. The important part, the part that gained the commendation of Christ, was that she stayed put, despite the interruptions and distractions. Because she demonstrated by her actions that she was serious about her time with Christ, He was serious about protecting that time. 

In the early years of my faith, the busyness of my life easily crowded out my time for Bible study, meditation, and worship. It was only when I made a serious change in priority, making time with my Lord the first priority, that I began to learn the truth of these words. Was it hard to carve out that time? Of course. I chose the time at the beginning of my day for worship and Bible study, which meant that I would be getting up earlier and sleeping a little less. The first one who had to understand that I meant business about the new schedule was me. Did my family suffer as a result of my decision? Certainly not, but the new schedule did mean that I arose earlier and had to do more to prepare for our morning the night before. 

Just as Mary found, when I became seriously committed to my time with our Lord, He was equally committed to protecting that time. There are still interruptions and distractions, but far fewer than at the beginning, because the words of Christ are as true for me and you as they were for Mary. Though the choice to spend time with our Lord is one that must be made over and over again, what I have chosen, what we have chosen, in terms of time with Christ, will not be taken away from us.

Jesus was referring to Mary's choice of time with Him over housework and "preparations" but He was also referring to her heart of love for Him. Her pure, unbounded love gave Him great delight, and He would not have it snatched away by the condemnation or judgment of her sister. He protected her loving heart, just as He longs to do for us. 

Please don't mistake my intent here. Housework and meal preparation have to be done, as well as the work of earning a living, and there were tasks that even Mary could not avoid. The problem is not doing the work of running a household or earning a living; the problem is one of priority. Which is most important to us? Is it getting all the work done in a certain manner and by a certain time or is it serving Christ with every action, every step we take? 

King David learned the importance of priority and made time with God the predominant prayer of His life. May we, too, pray (and seek) with David, that we might dwell in the presence of our Lord, both in solitude as well as while we go along our way, all the days of our lives.  

One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple. (Psalms 27:4 NASB)