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Good, Better, Best

      By Fern Horst

While they were traveling, He entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord's feet and was listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, "Lord, don't You care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand." The Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:38-42 HCSB)

When sisters Mary and Martha hosted Jesus in their home, Martha chose to do what many of us would if a special guest showed up at our doorstep: she got to work preparing plenty of good food to serve Him. Mary, on the other hand, chose to sit still at Jesus' feet and listen while He talked.

Martha and Mary knew Jesus well, and the closeness of their relationship was evident when Martha freely spilled out her frustration to Him. After all, wouldn't Jesus tell Mary she should be shouldering her share of the work?

I imagine Martha was surprised with Jesus' response. Note that He did not chide Martha for wanting to serve good food to her guest. He chided her for being worried and upset about it, and for being frustrated with Mary. He pointed out that Mary had made the best choice - one that after the day was over and all that wonderfully prepared food was gone, she would still have. She had chosen to listen intently to all that Jesus had to say, rather than be distracted by other activities, good though they may have been.

We are entering a brand new year - one in which each day will present us with many choices. The choices between good and bad are often the easiest for those of us committed to following Jesus. But what about the many choices between good, better and best? Will we be like Martha and be distracted by the many good things we can do? Or will we be like Mary and carefully choose the best things - things that can never be taken away from us?

One of those choices is to spend time with Jesus as Mary chose to do. We can't literally sit at Jesus' feet and listen to Him audibly talk, but we do have Him with us continually in the form of the Holy Spirit. We can converse with Him wherever we are. In the midst of hectic and frustrating situations, we can quiet ourselves in His presence and receive His calmness of spirit that no frustrating person or situation can take away from us. We also have His Word, and choosing to read it regularly while listening to His Spirit reveal its truth for our lives is one of the best choices we can make.

Many good Bible reading schedules are available. The Purposeful Singleness website offers a daily chronological Bible reading schedule which takes the reader through the whole Bible in a year, in the order in which the events occurred. Sign up to have it emailed to you each day (link on the left-hand side of each page). More information about it is here.

© 2012 Fern Horst

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