By Rev Angela C
LUKE 10:42 contains the Lord’s response to Martha: “Mary has chosen the better part.”
It pushes us to think about some of the choices we make on a daily basis and whether the Lord would applaud our decisions:
- In the area of our finances we have to consider: borrowing, lending, saving, spending, and investing.
- In relationships we may be devoted, faithful and responsible or uncaring, unreliable and deceitful.
- Our work ethic may reveal us as dedicated, conscientious, punctual and a team player, or we may be dishonest, lazy and incompetent.
There are many other aspects of your life that may come to mind at this point. Suffice it to say that whatever they are these are pertinent questions to us as a yardstick:
- Am I a person of integrity?
- Am I a credible witness as a Christian?
- Am I a person of my word?
- Am I growing in grace?
- Am I spiritually mature?
If we want to know what God expects, a prayer such as the Collect for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost says it all: “Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion, on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”
If we learn from the mistakes of others in the past, we will be able to determine the best course of action. Amos speaks judgement on behalf of God, exposing the corruption that was prevalent in his day: “Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land, saying, ‘When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?’—skimping on the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales, buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals,
selling even the sweepings with the wheat. The LORD has sworn by himself, the Pride of Jacob: ‘I will never forget anything they have done’.’ (Amos 8:4-6 NIV).
Where are we corrupt and what needs to be challenged?
Otherwise, if we do not do better we could suffer similar consequences as in Amos 8:10-12 NIV): “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight. I will turn your religious festivals into mourning and all your singing into weeping. I will make all of you wear sackcloth and shave your heads. I will make that time like mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day. ‘The days are coming,’ declares the Sovereign LORD, ‘when I will send a famine through the land—not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD. People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the LORD, but they will not find it’.”
The big difference is that Jesus Christ has come to rescue us from a well-deserved punishment: “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.” (Col 1: 21-23NIV).
When we teach and preach the gospel as Paul did and set a godly example, we assist others to come to maturity in Christ (v. 28).
We are now in a better position to allow the Holy Spirit to rule in our hearts so that we may meet the standards enunciated in Psalm 15: 1-7 NIV if we wish to be holy: “The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbour, and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person but honours those who fear the LORD; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken.”
It does not come clearer than this.
Martha was busy serving the Lord but was so distracted that she was not able to listen to what he was saying. She did not realise that this food of truth was more important than the extensive meal she was preparing. We may be active in many ministries, projects and programs but we cannot forget to sit at the feet of the Lord in bible study and prayer. We need balance and perspective. Once we know better, it is expected that we can do better. In time, if we keep listening and learning, we will make the best possible use of our time, talent and treasure.