Bible Society of South Africa

Redeeming time: Choosing right – 16 July 2020

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

42but just one is needed. Mary has chosen the right thing, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:42GNBOpen in Bible reader

Standing peeling a butternut for our very small lockdown braai-for-two, I began pondering how Martha must have felt to have had to prepare so much food for a meal with Jesus. To open her home to Him and His disciples would have cost her much, apart from time and energy. Besides, she would have put her whole heart into providing a sumptuous meal for such an important person as Jesus, as many of us probably also remember doing for special people in our lives over the years.

Yet there was a problem. Despite her willingness to serve Jesus in this way, Luke says that Martha “was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made” (v.40) She lost focus, and allowed resentment and self-pity to consume her, angry that Mary had chosen to abandon her, at such a time, to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen, when together they could have done the work quicker, giving them time to listen to Jesus later.

Perhaps, deep down, Martha realised that she was missing out on the main event of seeing Jesus, listening to His wise, eternal words in her own home; and being overloaded in the kitchen, she possibly began to regret her decision. When we’re self-absorbed, we don’t always see things clearly and may find it difficult to cope with our wrong decisions; but God uses our mistakes to teach us, restore us and grow our faith in Him.

Martha didn’t expect Jesus’ reproach when she complained to Him about Mary’s unwillingness to help, insisting that He scold her. But she learnt, when He commended Mary’s good choice to sit at His feet and listen to Him that the choice of using time to be with Jesus was as important for the spirit, as time spent preparing food in the kitchen was for the body. Mary had recognised her need and had chosen what was better and “it (would) not be taken away from her”.

What peace we know when we prioritise time with Jesus and feel the joy of His approval when we make the right choices with our time. That day Martha learnt about priorities, and that all choices carry consequences; what was right for her was not always necessarily right for Mary, but each one had the right to spend time with Jesus, and would grow in wisdom to make the right choices.

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice…” (1 Samuel 15:22)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please soothe my mind and inspire me to make good choices that come from spending time with You, and bring peace. Amen.

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