The dialogue between Mary and Martha in Luke’s gospel (10:38-42) identifies a potential concern that I now have, and have had for a number of years. Most of you will remember the oft-used cliché from 20 or so years ago, that “We must be more concerned about the Lord of the work, than the work of the Lord.” Religious busy-ness can often give birth to a deep and abiding paralysis…caused by taking your eye off of the “main thing”! I recall a preacher that announced that his topic for the morning sermon would be, “We must be careful to keep the main thing, the main thing.”
Luke pays special attention to this terrible potential in the exchange between Jesus and Martha. I am most interested in Christ’s response, “Martha, Martha, you are careful and troubled about many things. But one thing is needful, and Mary has chosen that good part…” (10:41-42) Henry Thayer says the word “careful,” means to be anxious, and the word “troubled,” means disturbed—Hmmm…anxious and disturbed!
As I travel in ministry, I witness a formidable disquietude in the countenance of the majority of church members. People are more concerned about sickness, school activities, personal problems and responsibilities, church problems, geo-political challenges such as terrorism, business and financial burdens, etc., etc. But the fact remains that any or all of these concerns, while serious, are not the main thing! Our text has underscored the “main thing.” My relationship with Jesus Christ is the main thing!
Note: “Now it came to pass, as they (Jesus and some of His disciples) went, that they entered into a certain village: … Martha received Him into her house… Mary… sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was cumbered about with much serving… and said, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me.” But Jesus told Martha that only one thing was needful, i.e., setting at His feet and hearing His word. My and your relationship with Jesus is far more important than anything we do or plan for our family, or the church. It is true that the family and our local church are second and third in Biblical priority, but they are not first and never will be. Lord help us! Thanks for your continued prayer for, and support to, this ministry. (All scripture quotations are based in the King James Version.)
G. Thomas Sharp