Choosing the Good Portion
by Laurie Harmer
Sitting still, being present, and listening. Although this moment between Jesus, Mary, and Martha occurred over 2000 years ago as Jesus sat in the home of his friends, it could so easily have happened at any of our homes today. The need to do, serve, and be productive before being present with Jesus was a struggle for Martha, even with him in the flesh, sitting in her home. Martha loved her Lord - He who would later raise her brother Lazarus from the dead. Further on in the Gospels, her sister Mary would anoint Jesus with a valuable nard oil and honor Him. These two sisters loved Jesus, they were counted as some of his dearest friends. Martha’s intentions were not bad. In fact, it was more than likely there was a large group that had arrived at their home with Jesus. Earlier in Luke 10, Jesus was traveling with his disciples and seventy others, at least a part of that group had also arrived to be fed and housed, and Martha wanted to welcome and feed them well. Martha’s intentions, although meeting a need, were not ordered by her Lord.
Jesus loves service, He had already given the “Sermon on the Mount” by the time He was visiting Mary and Martha. However, in this exchange between Jesus and Martha we are taught once again, if our service comes from the flesh and not from a heart of worship unto the Lord, or a direct call from the Lord, the Lord does not want it. In fact, we can be involved in the most powerful hands-on work, but if it is not where the Lord has called us, and we have forgotten to include Him in our plans, our work is futile. Jesus wants our hearts, minds, and souls before he wants our good works. Any work is dead work if it does not have a root firmly connected to, and nurtured by, the true Gardener.
Charles Spurgeon gave a sermon in April of 1870 about this very Scripture. Spurgeon admonished his congregation, “You lose your strength as a worker if you forget your dependence as a believer. To labour for Christ is a pleasant thing, but beware of doing it mechanically; and this you can only prevent by diligently cultivating personal communion with Christ”.
What we would teach any new believer, let us remember to preach to ourselves each morning afresh, spiritual nourishment and growth are entirely dependent upon our fellowship and intimacy with the Lord. He will always be faithful to be present with us.
Lord Jesus, please come and sit with us as you did at the home of Mary and Martha. Please come and bring your Spirit of Peace, and enable us to make space and time for you in our lives each day. May your spirit give us a hunger and thirst for more of you, before anything else in our lives. Amen.
Laurie Harmer and her husband Sean have been attending The Falls Church Anglican for 15 years. They believe raising their four children to know and love Jesus is their highest calling. Laurie has served in full and part time ministry roles for 17 years. Laurie now serves on staff at The Falls Church Anglican in the children’s ministry.