Each month this year, I am going to consider, meditate on, and blog about one of the Holy Habits – also called Spiritual Disciplines – that help us grow deeper in our relationship with Christ. In September, you guessed it! I’m starting this series with “Bible Study and Meditation on Scripture.”
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the one about the day a woman named Martha opened her home to Jesus (Luke 10:38). Martha’s sister Mary chose to join the disciples in the main room and hear Jesus’ teaching while Martha bustled around doing the serving work. Mary’s choice did not make Martha happy!! “Don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?” she whines to Jesus. (My question: where do you suppose brother Lazarus was when all this was happening?)
Mention this story to any woman and she will almost immediately confess she’s a Martha-type, and she totally understands why Mary’s choice of listening to Jesus rather than helping serve caused Martha to explode. I love that Luke included this story when writing his gospel. It was that kind of day at Martha’s house! Whoever related the story to Luke remembered it well! (Would Lazarus throw his sister under the bus like that??? Hmmm…)
Have you ever thrown a fit or snapped off a nasty remark when you felt overwhelmed, stressed, or taken advantage of? I know I have, for sure. Not that I’m proud of my behavior. But it happens, doesn’t it? We get ourselves so over-booked, so run-down, and so busy with work, school, and good deeds that we just don’t have time for rest, let alone time to concentrate on what Jesus might be trying to say to us. The Bible sits on our night stand collecting dust, and then we feel guilty about neglecting the housework!
Mary is our model of a heart at rest. She is not “distracted” from Jesus’s teaching by Martha’s beehive of activity. Jesus said as much when he uttered, “Martha, Martha…” Can you imagine the gentle pleading in his eyes, the touch of his hand on Martha’s? I can, because I’ve been where Martha is. Plenty of times.
Hospitality is a wonderful gift; sometimes it’s even a spiritual gift. And when it flows from a heart at rest, it can catapult every-day events into times of fresh anointing and receptivity to the things of God. It all starts with a decision like Mary’s, to spend time at the feet of Jesus. (Recruiting a few other helpers in advance is a good idea, too, I’ve found!) Maybe that’s why Lazarus isn’t mentioned in this story, because he, too, has “chosen what is better.” Or maybe he was just out in the vineyard that day!
You can find more creative expressions about this Holy Habit of “Bible Study and Meditation on Scripture” at the Connect Kiosk each week in PLC’s Fellowship Hall. Coming in October – “Stewardship and Giving.”