Devotion: Monday, July 22, 2019
Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is from Luke 10:38-42, where the Bible says,
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
THE ONE THING NEEDED!
The reading today seems to be straightforward, right? When it comes to what really matters in life, what endures, there is one thing that supersedes them all. And, in our text, Mary chose what was better. In the translation above it says she chose “the good portion.” I like that. “Portion” is a word that often relates to dinner, to eating. Did you take the good portion of the prepared meal? Jesus uses the word amidst Martha’s effort at dinner, seemingly contrasting the serving of her good food for Him with the food of His teaching for Mary, and for all. He’s gently sharing with Martha, with you and me too, that when His superlative FOOD IS AVAILABLE, WHEN THIS SAVIOR IS IN YOUR MIDST, SET EVERYTHING ELSE ASIDE. Why? Because there’s nothing like being with Him, sharing His love and His word, and receiving His life as a gift of grace. NOTHING. DON’T MISS IT because nothing else compares.
What must it have been like to sit in Jesus’ presence? For the women in the text, that was the place of blessing. Those were “life and salvation” moments that would last a lifetime and more. So, today, we too should assume the same position. Take the time to sit at the feet of Jesus in personal devotion and worship. Like Mary, choose the good portion of Jesus’ teaching, His love for you. It’s the only thing that lasts! It’s not that Jesus was devaluing Martha’s work. He was just putting it in proper perspective. We do the same when we pray in our liturgy for “faith towards [God] and fervent love toward one another” (e.g., Lutheran Service Book, p. 166) We pray, first and foremost, for a faith that sits at the feet of the Savior and receives His mercy, forgiveness, life and salvation as the gifts that they are. Then we are empowered to get to work in love, not to solidify that relationship with Him, but to express His life for us to others.
So, think about it this way today: did you notice how Martha’s “good stuff” was taking place in the kitchen? But Jesus BEST GIFT was taking place in the living room. It’s as if one room has priority over the other. Now, I remember the joys of both rooms in our home when I was growing up. It was great to eat mom’s cooking in the kitchen. It was great to talk with my parents over a cup of coffee. But it was even better to sing Christmas and Easter songs by the piano in the living room with my family, with our friends, and our guests. It was great to have a devotion from God’s word about life’s ultimate matters gathered around the fireplace, cozy on the sofa amidst those who love you. Maybe our text is suggesting that being alive in Christ calls us to prioritize the things of the “LIVING ROOM,” the place where we sit at the feet of the Savior, sharing His words, sharing His gifts, sharing our prayer time with Him, receiving first the best portion. Then we are ready to move out to “the kitchen” where we practice hospitality IN HIM for others.
But no matter how you envision it, the point is this: one thing matters; one thing is needed. Why? Because it empowers everything else. It directs everything else. It sustains everything else. That one thing starts with being a receiver of all the things that God has done for you in Christ Jesus by grace through faith, which gives courage and strength to venture out into this world with a real gusto to serve those He brings into your life. One thing is needed, and that one thing you can receive from Jesus, now and forever.
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, give me a greater sense of your great work for me and for all through your cross and resurrection, so that I might put that grace and love to work in my life for others. AMEN.