the one thing needed in a world of care

In the gospels we have the account of Mary sitting at the Lord’s feet listening to him while her sister Martha was out in the kitchen busy getting the meal ready. We know the story. Martha becomes concerned with the preparations which need to be done and thinks Mary should be helping her. And she lets the Lord know in no uncertain terms just how upset she is: “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” The Lord’s answer to her?: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Yesterday I ran into a buzz saw of sorts for us. I was never good at fixing things or mechanical. Owning a home can put a host of needs in front of one. How to deal with that is a challenge. I still feel under the cloud of what hit me yesterday. One thing at a time (as my wise, good wife reminds me), but the list doesn’t stop. I have to remember basics like “the Lord will provide,” etc.

The question becomes how do I avoid being overcome with all the cares of life. The cares of others, especially those who are close, the cares of the world at large, as well those right in front of me. We certainly end up doing something like the best we can and try to commit it all to God. I’ve seen one mountain removed already. With the Lord’s help we’ll see the others come down as well. But what about ourselves in the midst of all of this? What are we becoming? And what are we doing we might say as disciplines?

Time and the Lord’s work in ourselves is needed. What we want is a heart and mind intent on seeking God’s kingdom and his righteousness. With the promise from Jesus that as we do that, all we need will be given to us as well.

I don’t like problems because as in the case of Martha cited above they can easily become distractions. I want to brush that all aside and forget about it.  I just want to sit in a chair all day long so to speak and soak in the words of Jesus and go out and about for a bit and then come back and do the same. But was Martha wrong to be preparing a meal? I don’t think so. She was off course because she was distracted from the one thing needed. Yes, in the midst of all of life’s call and responsibility. Not apart from that, but in it. Even though it is good and even important to do what Mary did in simply from time to time, perhaps regularly in short intervals as well, forgetting about it all, and sitting at the Lord’s feet. We have what I think is good evidence later that Martha learned this lesson well.

Something I’ll be working on for awhile.