Submitted by Jan on Tue, 16/07/2013 – 10:30
Year C (2012-2013)
Bible Book: Luke / Lukas
Verse: 38 – 42
Am I the right kind of Christian? Would you also like to be a “deep” Christian – someone with insight, who lives “close to the Lord”? Or maybe you would prefer to be a Christian who enthusiastically works for the Lord – who energetically moves mountains in His service! What is the ideal? The few short verses in Luke 10 might give us some perspective:
Jesus arrives in Bethany and Martha welcomes him in her home. Martha is the ideal host. She ensures that the tired travelers get something to eat.
Mary, Martha’s sister, is less bothered about the preparations in the kitchen. She would rather sit with the disciples, listening to Jesus talking about the new world God is creating.
Of course Martha is not happy about this! Mary should be helping her – but now she is just sitting and listening! Martha complains to Jesus, and receives the answer we know so well (verse 41) “Martha, Martha…” It seems as if we can hear the loving voice of the Lord.
If we look at the situation superficially, it seems as if Jesus is choosing Mary’s response – to sit and listen – above Mary’s activity. In fact, He actually says so: “Mary has chosen what is better.” She chose to receive something that cannot be taken from her. Martha chose to give. Is this not the right thing to do? How can this be? Jesus himself said it is better to give than to receive! And just in the previous verses we read his response to the expert in the law: “Go and DO what he did.”
We make a mistake if we try and identify a “correct Christian lifestyle” from these few verses. Our lives as Christians are not about following a set of rigid laws, but rather about making the right choices about the right actions in each situation. We need to understand the words Jesus spoke to Martha – that Mary chose what cannot be taken away from her – in the light of Jesus’ work on earth. He knew that he would soon die on the cross. He knew that his time was running out, and he wanted his followers to understand something of the purpose of his incarnation. He knew that, when they were shocked and disappointed by his death on the cross, this understanding would strengthen them. This understanding could not be taken from them. But to create this understanding, it was necessary for his followers to spend quiet time with him. Their thoughts had to be shaped, their own perception needed to shift.
We live in a world of doing – there is a new activity that calls to us every minute. But we also need to hear from the Lord what it is that is really important. Yes, doing is important! We need to provide for physical needs, to visit people, to organise support programmes. But we especially need to ensure that people have the spiritual and emotional capacity to deal with life’s challenges. That can’t be taken from them! Someone who is equipped in this way will find peace in God’s plan for him or her and for the world. And then we can experience the peace that goes far beyond anything we can imagine, irrespective of the brokenness of our lives and daily experiences.
So it is not a choice between either listening quietly to the Lord, or doing many things, it is rather understanding the importance of both listening and doing!
To think about: When was the last time you listened to someone struggling with life’s questions; someone living with HIV and struggling with the side effects of medication, or someone whose wife or child has been raped, or someone who is desperately trying to get rid of society’s rejection. And when last did you also listen with them to hear the voice of Jesus?
Written by: Rev Samuel Murray & Ms Logy Murray (CABSA Founder and Board Member; Carpe Diem Consultants)
Author: Murray L (Ms)