I recently re-read a familiar little story that seems to fit this “season of love.” You can read it here, in the Gospel of Luke. It tells about that time Jesus stopped by the home of his friends–three siblings–in the village of Bethany.
Martha, the older sister, invited Jesus to their home. While he was sitting around talking to the family and maybe some other friends, Martha rushed around getting things ready for dinner. I don’t know whether she was washing dishes so there’d be enough clean plates, pulverizing garbanzo beans for hummus, grilling lamb chops, or what. Maybe all three at once.
No matter. The point is, Martha was pretty doggone busy. But her sister, Mary, didn’t turn a hand. She just sat listening, engrossed in Jesus’ words. Fed up, Martha complained to Jesus that her slacker sis was leaving all the work to her.
But instead of putting Mary to work, Jesus defended Mary’s choice.
See, Martha wanted to give Jesus her best. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that–more than once Jesus honored people who served Him with acts of devotion.
But, on this particular day and in this particular place, what Jesus wanted His friends to do was receive from Him. This was “the better part” that Mary chose, just listening to Him and receiving what He had to teach them all.
Giving expresses love, and receiving expresses trust.
It’s easy to get busy, wrapped up in doing stuff for the Lord. And since He’s prepared good works for each of us (see the Letter to the Ephesians, Chapter 2, v. 10), you gotta think He intends for us to do them.
But if we want to serve God, the very most important thing we can do to is to believe Jesus. In fact, you have to believe first before you even get to the “good works” part.
And how can you believe somebody if you haven’t listened to (or read) what they have to say?
As for me, my prayer is that the Lord would show me when it’s time to sit at His feet and receive, and mobilize me when it’s time to get busy and give.
And speaking of giving,
Happy (early) Valentine’s Day!
Thanks for reading,