Yesterday, we talked about the story of Martha, but the other main player in that story was Mary. Mary was the one who got it right in the story.

Again the story is recorded in Luke 10:38-42. Isn’t it interesting that a story with such impact only takes up five verses?

“Now they were traveling along, He entered a village and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha you are worried and bothered by so many thing; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Yesterday, I also confessed that, out of a weird mix of good intentions and pride, I’ve over committed myself this fall season. It wasn’t until I took a page out of Mary’s book that I even realized why I was so stressed and out of sorts.

I had been finishing up a study by Kay Arthur on spiritual warfare. As I got to the last week’s work (hurrying to get done, of course, because I had the Nehemiah thing getting ready to start!), there was a huge emphasis on prayer as an offensive spiritual weapon. It seemed everywhere I turned over the course of two weeks emphasized the importance of prayer.

Reading  glasses on bible text

Oswald Chambers in his book My Utmost for His Highest says, “Prayer does not equip us for greater works— prayer is the greater work.”

In Colossians 4:12 it says of Epaphras that he was “always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.”

I often think the outward work of doing is what God wants me to do, but what Mary did – sitting at the feet of Jesus, is what we do figuratively when we pray.

Last Wednesday, I decided I was just going to pray. I wasn’t going to look at the clock or anything else on my to do list. I was just going to pray until I was done -not because the clock said I was but because I had been fully present before God until HE was done.

Two and a half hours later, I got up from the couch, gathered my 3×5 cards with my verses and people’s prayer requests and started my day. It was later than I had intended, but suddenly I had some answers as to why I had been feeling blue and out of sorts.

Please don’t think I’m trying to come across as uber spiritual because I prayed one day for a long time. Honestly, that probably won’t be a daily or even weekly occurrence, but that day, I needed it. I needed to not be busy with all these things and just be still.

Mary knew this secret. She knew that her strength came, not from bustling about and doing, but by sitting and being with Jesus.

Mary didn’t always get it right though. When her brother Lazarus died, it was Martha that went out to talk to Jesus. It was Martha who stated her faith that even now, she believed Jesus could do anything. It was Martha who declared that she believed Jesus was the Christ, the very Son of God. Obviously, she was no longer distracted or busy with many things. She had figured out the most important thing.

Meanwhile, Mary was back in the house. Martha tells her that Jesus wants to see her and Mary hurries out to Him.

When she sees Him, she once again ends up at His feet, this time weeping, saying, “My brother would have lived if only You had come earlier.”

Several times in this passage it says that Jesus was deeply moved. Mary’s pain was especially moving to Him. Even though Mary hurt and she didn’t understand, she still found herself back at the feet of Jesus and it was there that she found His compassion.

God knows I need the obvious because the subtle usually flies under my radar (being busy and all!), and He led me to this story of Mary and Martha, right when I needed to read it again.

While there is definitely a time for action when God directs us to do something, the thing we can learn the most from Mary (and Martha) is that our doing is an overflow of our abiding.

When was the last time you slowed down enough to just be with Jesus?

Blessings, Rosanne

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