Can I Choose One of Each?

7 Sep

Luke 10:41, 42:  “And Jesus answered and said unto her, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:  But one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

A male friend recently made a statement that life is not one long to-do list.  I smiled at the time because I was thinking, “Well, yes . . . and no.”

Since ladies use the story of Mary and Martha in so much of our teaching, my mind went immediately to that story and I responded with, “Dinner is a to-do list item!”

You see, I have always been fascinated by the balance our Lord displayed in dealing with these two very different women.  I don’t see anywhere that He reproved Martha for doing her best to make Him a dinner fit for a King!  He merely told her that Mary had chosen the good part when she sat at His feet and listened to what He had to say.

I find that most people are part Mary and part Martha (men included).  Our only difference is in the proportion of one to the other.  The people who go to either extreme are rare and are probably quite misunderstood most of their lives because those would be the “all work and no play” people or the people who spend so much time with the Lord (the true Bible scholars among us) that they have to be careful to not give the impression that they never get their hands dirty with practical work.

Living, as we do, between the two extremes, I find lots of room for us to give each other grace.  There will always be a time when I value quiet time with the Lord more than I value getting the dishes done.  Or there will be a time when I know my greatest worship at the moment is making a meal for a new mother, even if that leaves me less time to prepare a Sunday school lesson for the next day!

In either of those cases, others could choose to judge or they could choose to give me grace, even if they would not necessarily have ordered their priorities the way I did.  I can do the same with others, especially those around me in my local church when there is a task to be done, like cleaning up after a baby shower or decorating the sanctuary for Christmas.  We are all different and our gracious Lord handled both Mary and Martha so well that He certainly taught us we can extend grace to others in the choices they make.

Let’s play “what if?” for a second.  What if Martha had immediately agreed with Jesus that Mary had chosen the good part?  What if Martha had joined Mary at Jesus’ feet?  How would they have gotten their dinner that night then?  Would they have all gone into the kitchen and cooked dinner together, continuing the conversation?  Would they have gone to the newest cute little Mediterranean restaurant in Bethany?  Would they have taken a cold picnic supper to the Mount of Olives?  We will never know because Martha went on cooking.  But the possibilities are intriguing.

The possibilities for us in the Body of Christ today are intriguing, too.  We know what the good part is and that we need to choose it every day of our lives.  If we are not in the Word of God, we wilt.  But there is plenty of room for service, too.  And for balance between the two.  And for giving each other grace when our balance is not the same as someone else’s balance . . .

Choose the good part!


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