I think every Christian’s dream is to come face-to-face with Jesus. We want to feel the power of His presence. To gaze into His eyes – to have Him speak just one word in our hearing. How great would that experience be? How changed would our lives be?
In Luke 10:38-42, we meet two women, sisters, who were given that blessing, and we are given a lesson from their actions in His presence. Our encounter with Jesus is all about choices, and from Luke’s scripture, we see that there are two. DOING something for God and BEING with Him.
Martha chooses to DO. The custom in her day demanded a meal for a guest, so she set herself about the task of preparing one. Yet Jesus was not looking for someone to feed Him, but for someone He could feed. Her desire to do something for Jesus was not wrong, but how often are we caught up in doing things for God and miss out on being with God? Martha’s intentions were good, and she truly desired to make Jesus welcome in her home, but we need to realize that good intentions do not always produce good results or choices. Martha was attempting to serve two masters: custom and Jesus. Notice what Jesus said in addressing her choice, “Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed….”
Mary made a spiritual choice. In the eyes of some, she could be criticized because she chose not to bring out the china and the meatloaf. But she wasn’t being lazy. She chose based on something she saw in the presence of the Master. Maybe it was something in His nature that made her abandon the kitchen, or perhaps it was the gleam in His eye that any good teacher gets when they are allowed to teach a new student. But whatever it was, it moved her to be still in His presence. The text tells us that she sat at His feet, listening to His every word. Jesus shares, “Mary had “chosen what was better, and it will not be taken from her.” She chose to be in the presence of Jesus.
Being with God can be challenging because we live busy lives. We can be busy doing Church and getting ready for the Sunday morning experience. We could be performing some necessary tasks on Sunday, such as leading praise, being an usher, teaching Sunday school; doing things that are ways we serve our Church and God. However, our habits and maybe our traditions are interfering with our ability to be with God. Perhaps we have gotten into a mindset that going to Church every Sunday and serving where we can, is what God wants from us, forgetting, like Martha, that we need to take time to be in God’s presence.
It is good to attend Church, sing praise songs, and study scripture because those activities expose us to God’s word. But what about the other time during the week? Can we still be in God’s preference when working, commuting, visiting the grocery store, or engaging in some leisurely activity? Can we be in His presence more? The answer is yes (we will share more in an upcoming article). But for now, can you read/memorize Deuteronomy 6:4-7 and, during the day, reflect on these words asking yourself what they mean to you?
“Hear, O Israel (Church): The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
Life demands that we make choices; that is its nature. But our soul requires that we make the right choice. Don’t forget to choose to BE with God.