I have a bit of an odd habit. Due to the fact that I have taught Bible stories to young children for more years that I can count, I am constantly on the lookout for some random item that can be used for an object lesson. In case you are not familiar with what an object lesson is, be assured, it is as simple as it sounds. You find a common object with which to capture a child’s attention and interest, then take that item and weave a lesson around it. By God’s grace, that object presented itself to me this past week, and as usual, God used that object to teach me.
The old phrase, You are your mother’s child, certainly does ring true in some areas of my life. My mom was what is referred to as a clean-o-holic. She loved keeping a tidy house and always felt the need to include me in all of her spic and span, house-cleaning endeavors. I inwardly complained about the chore at the time, but now I take great pleasure in taking those skills she instilled in me and tending to my own home. While wading through a cleaning project recently, the much sought-after object presented itself to me…one lone feather that had fallen from my feather duster and landed gracefully on the floor. This is perfect, I thought to myself. I will prepare a story about Mary and Martha, focusing on their preparations for a visit from Jesus, and tie in an application on how we should also maintain a clean life to please our Friend and Savior. I will call the story ‘Cleaning for Jesus,’ and we will discuss ways that we can keep our ‘heart homes’ pure, how we can guard what we watch, what we read, and how we use our tongues. I was excited about the lesson God had provided for me to share with my kiddos, yet I was sadly unprepared for the lesson that He had for me.
We live in a busy world, a world jam-packed with many worthwhile activities vying for our time, attention, and participation. If we are not careful and on constant guard, sometimes our choices can become muddled, especially when that choice boils down to a difficult tug-of-war between that which is good and that which is best. Often, I find in my own daily walk with Jesus that I sometimes miss out on the best choice and settle, instead, for the good.
Mary and Martha provide for us an interesting contrast of character. Martha was a doer, a woman of action, a hostess who expended her best efforts to prepare the quintessential environment for the arrival of Jesus. It is easy to equate busyness with godliness, and Martha certainly was busy, “cumbered about (with) much serving,” on a mission to display her love for Jesus by making Him as comfortable and at home as she possibly could, a decidedly good choice. But I would find my instruction by way of the sister who made the better choice, Mary.
To be bluntly honest, I am more comfortable with the Martha character of this story than I am with Mary. I have the same unending energy level that my mother possessed, the same hyperactivity mode, and I would much rather be doing that to be sitting. I generally find myself in a constant whirl of motion, and can become dreadfully annoyed with those who can’t keep up the pace (insert pity for my poor husband). As Mary sat at the feet of her Guest, listening to Him, learning more about Him, drawing closer in spirit to Him, Martha allowed her frustration to boil over. Why isn’t Mary helping? Why is she sitting while I do all the work? Both sisters had chosen well, but Mary’s choice was the best, for Jesus affirms that she had “chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Serving God with faithfulness and unbridled fervor is good, but knowing Him intimately is better. This week, let’s set some time aside in our busy schedules to listen to Him, to learn from Him, to grow in our relationship with Him. May my life mirror that blessed soul in Psalm 1 whose tree was planted firmly “by the rivers of water,” the child who delights herself “in the law of the LORD,” and mediates on that precious Word “day and night.” May I never be too busy serving Him that I don’t have time to listen to Him.
Psalm 1:1,2 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
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