Today’s Bible Reading:

1 Chronicles 22
1 Peter 3
Micah 1
Luke 10

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

Luke 10:41-42 (CSB): “The Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

The Gospel has always needed protecting. Just as Paul blew a gasket as he wrote the letter to the Galatians because they had distorted the Gospel, so it has been necessary to respond similarly ever since that time. The Gospel has been continually distorted ever since it was given and it needs to be defined and defended.

Currently, in America, the Gospel is being distorted in at least a few ways.

  • There are those who erroneously claim that the Gospel is a way to health, wealthy, and prosperity.
  • There are those who erroneously claim that the Gospel is not powerful enough to keep us and that we can lose our salvation if we stray too far away from the Savior.
  • There are those who erroneously claim that the Gospel does not need to be accompanied by a changed life that is characterized by the pursuit of holiness.

On and on we could go of how the pure, biblical Gospel has been distorted. But, we also see something in Luke 10:38-42 that speaks to our “Christian” culture.

Let’s read how the brief story unfolds…

Luke 10:38-40 (CSB): “While they were traveling, he entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.’”

We are told in these verses that Jesus visited with His friends. When we read John 11:1-2, we realize that Mary and Martha had a brother named Lazarus (who Jesus raised from the dead) and all three of them lived in Bethany. Bethany was only a couple of miles east of Jerusalem, on the other side of the Mount of Olives.

As we look back at the brief story in Luke 10, we realize that the two sisters were doing two very different things. Mary “sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what he said” while Martha “was distracted by her many tasks.”

If we could restate the activity that these two women were engaged in, it would look like this:

  • Martha was doing things for Jesus. Mary was spending time with Jesus.
  • Martha was busy. Mary was quiet.
  • Martha was stressed. Mary was at peace.
  • Martha was telling Jesus what to do. Mary was listening to what Jesus told her to do.

While Jesus would have been grateful for the food that Martha was preparing, He made it clear who had made the better choice.

Luke 10:41-42 (CSB): “The Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.’”

Martha was busy doing things for Jesus while Mary was busy listening to Jesus.

Martha was rebuked. Mary was affirmed.

Friend, as we live 2,000 years after this biblical event, the Gospel is continuing to be distorted in this way.

When we read the Bible, we cannot help but realize that Scripture is to be enjoyed and consumed. When we read the New Testament, we cannot help but see the priority of preaching and teaching.

But, when we look at our current Christian culture, we see so many people who claim to be Christians who rarely pick their Bibles up from Sunday to Sunday. They choose the church they will attend based upon the (style of) singing rather than the proclamation of the Word. And, when they think of what the church should be doing, they immediately jump to “we need to be doing something,” rather than “we need to be spending time with Jesus.”

To be sure, it is unhealthy for a church to limit its activities to the preached and taught Word. If we aren’t doing anything with what we are learning, if our communities are no better off because of our presence and service, then we fail to see that the job of Pastor is to equip the church for action.

Ephesians 4:11-12 (CSB): “And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, equipping the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ,”

But, action isn’t our sole job. It isn’t even our primary task. It is the outflow of spending time with Jesus, listening intently to His Words and making the appropriate life adjustments.

And this is the Gospel. The Gospel isn’t simply the way we get to Heaven – it is the truth about how we are to live this life as we are on our way to Heaven.

The Gospel isn’t simply how we get to spend time with Jesus in eternity. It is how we spend time with Him and enjoy relationship with Him in this life.

John 17:3 (CSB): “This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and the one you have sent—Jesus Christ.”

How do we spend time with Jesus (as Mary did) and listen to Him?

  • Read and study your Bible every day.
  • Attend a church where God’s Word is faithfully proclaimed (Bible study groups and sermons).
  • Listen to substantive Bible teaching and preaching on the radio, podcasts, television, internet, etc.

God wants us to be busy serving Him but it should happen as a natural outflow of spending time with Him, learning from Him.

We need to be busy serving Jesus, like Martha, but only if it is the result of spending time with Jesus, like Mary.

* * * * * * * * * *

Lord Jesus, I see in the story of Mary and Martha that You clearly affirmed Mary’s actions. You even pointed out the blessing of Mary’s choice of sitting at Your feet as opposed to Martha’s stress. Help me to understand this and get this right. Help me to be like Mary and spend much time learning from You. Then, with a peaceful, informed mind and heart, help me to get up and serve like Martha. I’m looking forward to Heaven but help me to live rightly while I’m still on earth. I pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Photo by Ilias Chebbi on Unsplash