The Better Part

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 few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

What does it look like to be a servant of Christ?  Does it look like following a bunch of rules?  Does it make you worry and stress you out?  If it does, read this passage again.  Read it carefully.

What does it look like?  It looks like listening to Jesus!

I have to laugh at how much we complicate things.  Jesus said in Matthew 11, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Jesus calls for rest from our labors.  We sometimes think, like Martha, that we need to prepare ourselves for Jesus.  In reality, Jesus prepared himself for us.

In Philippians 2, “being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”

We besmirch his sacrifice when we think we need to prepare ourselves for Him.  You gave up music, drag yourself to church every Sunday, don’t cheat on your spouse?  He gave up His godly nature to be with us in human form and was then brutally murdered.  I don’t think we will ever understand that sacrifice. Our sacrifice can’t measure up.  So what are we to do?  Our example is always Jesus.  He said, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”  Jesus listened to the Father just like Mary listened to what Jesus had to say.

It says in I Corinthians 12 that we, the church, are one body.  In Colossians 1 and Ephesians 4, Paul states that Christ is the head of that body.  How does a body act?  The body listens to the head, the brain.  My cells do not operate independently.  When I want to move my finger, my brain directs it.  So it is in our relationship with Jesus.

What is the glue that holds us together?  Well, His sacrifice gave us His grace.  The word is charis which means “God’s influence upon the human heart”.  Consider Titus 2, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,”.  Grace is a teacher.  It gives us the power to say no to sin and yes to God.  As we sit and listen to Jesus, we will naturally gravitate to those things that are holy.  No work required.  It will become part of our very nature.

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