Choosing the Better
by Pastor Scott
I grew up around and have spent most of my adult life surrounded by Christian women; arguably among the hardest working and most generous women in the world. Whether they are working at home, in the community, at the church or their place of employment, they give it 120%. Here at Gloria Dei, we are surrounded by these good women of all ages and without them we could not accomplish the mission of the Church.
There are many stories of God’s women illustrated in the Bible and one of the most beautiful characters in Scripture is Mary or Mary of Bethany. Mary was the sister of Martha, and her brother was Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead. Mary is featured in three different stories in the Bible, one being in the home of her sister Martha (Luke 10:38-42), where Jesus and some of His disciples were being entertained. We can learn many valuable lessons from studying the life of Mary and her sister Martha.
Martha, Mary’s sister, was really working hard. She is described as distressed and “distracted with much serving” and expressed some frustration that Mary wasn’t helping. Martha rebukes Jesus, accusing Him of not caring that Mary sat at His feet while she did all the work. Jesus’ response gives us our first insight into Mary of Bethany as He commends her for “choosing the better.” Jesus was teaching Martha that Mary’s desire to be near her Lord and hang onto His every word was far more beneficial than running herself ragged with preparations for a meal. Jesus further said that choosing the better thing, choosing to listen to and learn from the Lord, was something that would not be taken away from Mary.
By “choosing the better,” Jesus meant that by choosing Him as her priority in life would last and contribute to her eternity with Christ.
Her sister Martha’s rebuke of Jesus gives us a look at the condition of her heart and mind as she tried to make everything perfect. She was so distracted and flustered with serving that she forgot who she was speaking to. I’ve been guilty of this myself; where I’ve gotten so wrapped up in what I’m doing that I forget my motivation for doing it. But Mary remained silent, indicating a lack of concern for herself, especially for defending herself.
In life, when we focus on Christ, He becomes our greatest passion and our tendency toward self-absorption dims and fades. And when we, like Mary, make sitting at the feet of Jesus our priority, the Holy Spirit deepens our understanding and passion for Christ and completes in us His plan for our lives.
We may not have Jesus sitting in our living rooms in human form, but by His Spirit, we have His Word, the Bible, and from it we have all the instruction and understanding that we could ever need to live a life of secure and confident faith like Mary of Bethany.
I would ask that we all continue to work hard; answering God’s call to contribute in service and vocation as only you can do. But I would also ask that we never forget to spend time at the feet of Jesus, learning and growing and remembering Who it is we are serving.
In Jesus’ Name,
January 10, 2024
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