To Be Like Mary

Brother Rob’s sermon this morning included references to the death of Lazarus and the resulting reactions of his sisters, Mary and Martha (or “Motha”, as Bro. Rob so richly says in his “old South” way.)

As he talked about Mary and Martha, my mind drifted to the story of Jesus visiting their home in Luke 10:38-42. I know the story very well. Five short verses, but packed with eye opening life application.

“As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. 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!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

When I study these passages, I am encouraged by the words of Jesus. He is actually telling someone to forget about the chores and focus on Him! But at the same time, I know in my heart that if I had been one of the sisters in the story, I undoubtedly would have been Martha.

The account of Martha begins very favorably. “A woman named Martha opened her home to Him.” (Very hospitable of her.) But the next thing we hear of Martha is that she was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. Wow! How easily I could replace the name Martha to say, “But Karen was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.” I just know in my heart I would have done the exact same thing as Martha!

Then, the account of Martha takes a terrible turn for the worst. She begins to sound like…well…like my children when they believe they have been given more chores than their brother or sister.

I pray I wouldn’t have gone as far as Martha in asking The Lord Jesus Christ to reprimand my sister for not helping with the chores, but you never know! Poor Martha. She started out so great, but then she bombed!

It’s a difficult lesson for people like me. As much as I hate to admit it, I suffer from the sin of perfectionism at times. It sounds like Martha did as well. She wanted everything to be just right. As a result of her perfectionist personality, she couldn’t see what was the most important thing. She was distracted.

You might say, “So, what’s wrong with that? Why is that a sin?” The sin is not in taking care of things that need to be done or putting forth your best effort, the sin is letting things distract you from Jesus.

How many things in my life distract me from spending time with The Lord? It’s very easy to justify them. Of course I must prepare dinner, or go Christmas shopping, or do the laundry. Yes, these things might need to be done, but not at the cost of missing out on precious time with my Lord.

So in order to avoid being distracted from Jesus, I look to the other sister. Mary, the one who Jesus says “chose the right thing”. Mary knew how to prioritize. She knew what was at the top of her “to do” list for the day! Can’t you just visualize her list? At the top in BIG, BOLD letters….
SIT AT THE FEET OF JESUS AND DRINK IN EVERY WORD.

What a beautiful picture those words paint in my mind. Oh, to be like Mary!

Still, I can’t help but feel sorry for Martha. Apparently her “to do”list for the day was a little different than Mary’s.

*Send Lazarus to catch fish
*Mend the clothes
*Buy vegetables at market
*Mop the floors
*Prepare the fish
*Bake the bread
*Set the table
*Serve dinner
*Clean the dishes
*Talk to Jesus

Apparently, Jesus wasn’t concerned about a meal, or a clean house, or whatever it was that Martha was doing. He loved Martha. He wanted to spend time with her. He wanted to get to know her better, to know her thoughts and desires. He wanted to tell her stories about His Father. He wanted her to know who He really was. He said only one thing was needed and that was spending time with Him.

It’s the same for us today. Jesus desires for us to spend time with Him. He wants us to read about Him and allow The Holy Spirit to open our eyes to who He really is. He wants us to talk to Him and share with Him our thoughts and desires. He wants us to simply sit at His feet each day and drink Him in.

The world we live in calls us to be like Martha. We have so many things to do that even if we place Jesus at the top of our to do list for the day, He often gets pushed to the bottom and maybe even knocked off the page.

Jesus calls us to be like Mary. To drop everything and spend time with Him. I must admit there are days when my time alone with Him gets pushed to the bottom of my list and sometimes even off the page. Those days never seem quite right. I don’t experience the peace, wisdom, or love for others that I experience when I begin my day with The Lord. Days that begin with Jesus are days that might not be perfect, but they are days that I’m prepared for because I’ve been given wisdom and strength through my time with Him.

Lord, make me like Mary and change me when I fall into my Martha-like ways. I can’t imagine anything more splendid than sitting at Your feet and drinking in Your every word.

Striving to Be Like Mary,
Karen

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The Realization of Life in Full Bloom

The name of my blog is based on 1 Peter 1:24-25 “For all men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.”

When I study this verse, I am filled with a sense of sadness at the brevity of my life. But at the same time, it wakes me up, gives me energy, and causes me to prioritize. My entire being is flooded with the realization that my life on this earth is fading. And like it or not, I am not a flower that just sprang forth from the earth, I am IN FULL BLOOM! And as beautiful as a flower may be in it’s glory, we all know what is happening to that flower as soon as it hits that mark. It begins to fade and fall away.

There’s a sense of urgency that wells up within me, and even to some degree, a little bit of panic. It’s an urgency related to all things in my life. I am quite often amazed at how many thoughts can simultaneously go through my mind. All at once, I visualize my children grown and away from home, and immediately regret all the things I planned to do, but never did. I think of my sweet husband and become aware that I rarely give him the time and attention he deserves.

So many things flash through my mind, but one question always comes to the forefront…what have I done for the glory of The Lord? I seem to live much of my life thinking…when I’m a little older I’ll be completely committed to the cause of Christ. That’s why I named this blog “in full bloom”. To remind me that the time is now!

In full bloom is a glorious place to be. I want to take full advantage of it for the glory of The Lord. God created me for a time such as this. He has freely given me His forgiveness and grace. He has blessed me with opportunities to learn about Him and fellowship with Him. He has empowered me with His Holy Spirit. He has nurtured me each step of the way as I’ve grown from a tiny bud to a blooming flower. There is no more time for excuses or procrastination. This is the time to bloom and shine for Him.

A few songs come to mind as I think about the scripture in 1 Peter. One is “Live Like You Were Dying.” This scripture does not move me to go sky diving or Rocky Mountain climbing; and if you know me at all, you know that I will most likely never ride a bull named Fumanchu. But loving deeper and speaking sweeter sound pretty good. And overall, living like we’re dying just means to focus on what’s really important while we’re here. For me it’s doing the will of God. And although I’ve failed miserably throughout my life, it’s good to know that God is patient with me. He is ready and willing to assist me whenever I allow him to do so.

Another song is “The Motions” by Matthew West. It is a perfect reminder for me to give my all for Him.

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day,
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me.
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking,
“What if I had given everything,
Instead of going through the motions?”

So tomorrow is the next day of the rest of my life. What will I do for Christ? Will I go through the motions as usual or give my everything? I must be aware of John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

Apart from Christ, I can do nothing. I will call on the name of The Lord for wisdom and guidance and know that He hears me when I call. And then I will be strengthened.

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

I love the part of 1 Peter 1:25 that says “the Word of The Lord will stand forever”. All the things that pull me away from Him, will not remain. So why do I worry with them? He is all I need.

Blessings from a Girl in Full Bloom,
Karen

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