Reflecting on our church theme for 2017, Connected, my mind quickly jumps to a familiar story that happened 2000 years ago in a small town outside of Jerusalem called Bethany.
Luke 10:38-42 AMP
Now while they were on their way, Jesus entered a village[called Bethany], and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who seated
herself at the Lord’s feet and was continually listening to His teaching. 40 But Martha was very busy and distracted with all of her serving responsibilities; and she approached Him and said,
“Lord, is it of no concern to You that my sister has left me to do the serving alone? Tell her to help me and do her part.” 41 But the Lord replied to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and
bothered and anxious about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part [that which is to her advantage], which will not be taken away from her.”
What a vivid picture the Amplified translation paints of this encounter with Jesus! Jesus is on His way to spend time with a family He is close to. He is bringing his disciples too. Think about that for a moment. The Son of God, a man who taught with authority, healed the sick, drove demons to oblivion, touched the untouchable, and stood up to the religious establishment, is coming for a visit. He wanted to spend time with His friends. How would you respond?
Let’s look at Martha and Mary’s responses to Jesus’ visit. Martha is detailed-oriented, dutiful, and as we read on, a little bossy. She focuses not on the guest in her home, but on the never ending to do list of tasks to be done. She ends up frustrated, accusing her sister of not doing her part, and even chides Jesus to challenge her! Mary, on the other hand, responds to the news of Jesus coming to her home very differently. She sees an opportunity to spend time with Him. No doubt, she understands the importance of Jesus, her Rabbi, breaking bread in her home. But for Mary, it is a chance for her to listen to Him, soak up His teachings and connect with Him.
As women, we are all busy. Like Martha, we can easily get caught up in all we think have to do and miss what we have to be- connected. How many times, have I in the spirit of serving others, become so busy, I forget the people I’m serving, why I’m serving and to my shame, even get bitter at God? Doing things does not equal connection. We have to learn what it means to be still at the feet of our Lord and connect with Him daily. Only then will we learn how to really connect with others.
If you’re like me, the idea of being still can seem unproductive and counter intuitive. After all,there are so many needs to meet. Yet, Jesus reminds us in this story that the most important thing we can do is to be still, sit at His feet and connect to Him. It’s what Jesus did. Throughout the gospels, we see what helped Him accomplish all He was sent to do, including meeting the many needs of all who He encountered- daily and constant connection with God. Jesus spent a lot of time alone in prayer and communion with the Father (Matthew 14:23; Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12-13; Luke 9:18; Luke 23:39-41). Jesus would not do or say anything that was not from the Father (John 12:49). What a perfect example of connection to God we see in Jesus’ life! For us to connect amidst the responsibilities that come from our current season of life, the noise and distractions from this world, the many trials and challenges we face, we must learn to sit at His feet and learn from Him. As we open our hearts to Him who knows us best and loves us most, He will guide us to action.
I believe most of us crave this kind of connection to Jesus. We desire Mary’s courage to love Jesus with complete surrender and trust in Him. In fact, we already experienced this when we first started learning about Him. Do you remember what it felt like when you realized He was YOUR Lord and entrusted everything to Him who gave His life in exchange for yours? Do you remember how honored and excited you were to read, pray and sing to Him? Maybe you weren’t a bible scholar, but how amazed were you when scriptures starting making sense to you? The Bible tells us in Hebrews 13:8 that Jesus Christ does not change. So if anyone has changed, it’s us. The busyness and worries of this life, hurts and disappointments can slowly erode our connection to Him. Many times we focus on our circumstances, things and people rather than Him. Like Martha, what started off as service to Jesus, has become stuff we have to do. If you’re like me who understands Martha a lot more then Mary, but crave connecting the way Mary did, Jesus is still looking to spend time with you. He is still seeking to build a deep relationship with you. He is still looking to connect with you. He just asks that you stop all that you are busy with, let go of all that is bothering you and sit with Him a while.
My prayer for 2017 is for us to be women who drown out the noise, sit at Jesus feet and connect with Him. I pray we go back to the love, trust and surrender we had in Jesus when we first understood how much He loves us and how the Son of God came to earth, stooped down to make us great and He, Lord of lords, King of kings craves and longs for a relationship with us! Mary understood this. Mary knew the most important thing she could do was to be still and sit at His feet. As we connect with Jesus, we will connect to others. We will want to share this love with others! May we become women of courage and purpose who connect to our Lord and out of the overflow of that love, connect to others.
– Glorimar Rivera