Mary And Martha: Getting Caught Up In DOING

8th September

As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what He taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing….

Luke 10:38-40a

In 1999 Zach Neese wrote the song ‘The More I Seek You’, which was popularised through Kari Jobe’s recent albums. The song contains such deep and profound language and doesn’t seem to dissimilar to that of something David would have written in the Psalms. The intimate picture this song paints, tells of how close our relationship with Jesus should be. Reading today’s passage we see a similar encounter of complete intimacy with Jesus, through the actions of Martha’s sister Mary.

As Jesus and His disciples made their way to Jerusalem, they were stopped by a lady called Martha who welcomed them into her home. Amazingly, Martha opens her home to Jesus, without the text being clear that they even knew each other. Furthermore, again Jesus breaks cultural customs by dining with a woman and even allowing Mary to sit at His feet. Yet this event represents something so much more than just a un-cultural dinner date.

As Martha scurried about busily preparing dinner for her guests, her sister Mary, simply sat at Jesus’ feet listening to His teaching (a posture than young disciples would have adopted when learning from their Rabbis). Martha, slightly irritated, confronts Jesus and asks for Him to “tell her to come and help…”. Yet Jesus loving answer may not have been what Martha had wanted to hear. He commended Mary for discovering what was the most important thing to do. Jesus added that there was only “one thing worth being concerned about”, intimacy with Him.

So often, our lives can get so caught up in serving and being distracted by doing so much for God that we forget to spend with God. Martha wisely and loving opened her door to Jesus, yet was so caught up in serving Him that she didn’t spend any time with Him. On the contrary, Jesus commended Mary for simply sitting at His feet and listening to His words. Let us take a look at our lives and think about what is stopping us spending intimate time with Jesus. Let us not be so busy serving Him that we also forget to sit and His feet and spend time with Him. He longs for intimacy with us.

The more I seek You,
The more I find You
The more I find You, the more I love You

I want to sit at Your feet
Drink from the cup in Your hand.
Lay back against You and breathe, feel Your heart beat
This love is so deep, its more than I can stand
I melt in Your peace, its overwhelming”

Zach Nesse, Gateway Music

Serving Facilitated Church Growth

5th June

So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables…choose seven from among you ….. we will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.””

Acts 6:2-4 (NIV)

Today’s devotion highlights key advice for our churches but also in our own lives. We are a body and each part has it’s own use, it’s own purpose and it’s own gift. Each person cannot do everything all the time. It is clear that the apostles gift was in preaching, teaching and in the apostolic ministry. Yet here in verse 2 they are found to be waiting on tables, serving people their daily needs and getting involved in petty squabbles.

The apostles knew that in order for the church to grow they needed to dis-attach themselves with this ministry and focus on the “ministry of the word of God.” That is not to say that it was a lesser ministry to wait on tables but rather they knew their strengths and they knew that they were not being best used in them, if their time was devoted elsewhere. In an act of complete wisdom they appointed seven other Spirit and wisdom filled believers and commissioned in the ministry of hospitality. Because of this “God’s message continued to spread”…and the “number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted too.” (verse 7)

Know that God has given us all a specific gift for the extension of His Kingdom, whether directly or indirectly. He didn’t give everyone every gift otherwise the church would be in chaos and never move forward. Let us learn from this example, that we all can be used, whether in sweeping the floors of the church, doing a neighbours gardening, serving teas and coffee after a Sunday service or working in the slums in India. We all have a part to play in extending the body of Christ. It is only when we release people in the ministry that God has for them, that we truly see the church explode in growth and lives being transformed by the love of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit.