the view from the pew 7-18-16

Saturday service (7-16-16) centered on ‘when good things distract’. The weekly Gospel reading, as it is for churches everywhere, was Luke 10: 38-42.

At the Home of Martha and Mary
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 few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I believe that a majority of unbelievers, when confronted with the living Christ, have a default mode that holds if one option laid out is good then the other is necessarily bad. Living in America, we want to believe that the scales of morality and legality are just, that for every good belief or deed there is an equal and opposite hateful idea or crime. Often times we speak derisively of politics if two unlovable candidates are involved; sports competitions if a contest is between teams who always seem to be on the television set, or wedding recessional music if the organist only knows two songs, (Let’s get) Physical by Olivia Newton-John or Sussudio by Phil Collins, hence our choices are said to be ‘between the lesser of two evils’.

In the scripture reading, Martha is doing something good. She is preparing a table for her guests and family. Mary, on the other hand, is also doing something good. She is sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to His words. When Martha expresses her frustration to Jesus, He responds in short with “Mary has chosen what is better”. He doesn’t condemn Martha for being hospitable but commends her sister for having made the better of two good choices. Your life might be filled with good choices.

— Which school ought I attend? One is closer to to home so I might not feel alienated when I leave this fall but the other one offers courses that would help me find a better job in my field.

— This job pays better so I could care for others better or the other one allows me to spend more time with my family.

— That Bible study covers a topic I’m not well versed in, I could learn a lot. The other covers a topic I know well and might be able to help others through it.

If you come across two good options, be grateful for those. Even if a seemingly good decision turns out bad, find a way to let the living Christ use you to make the situation better for yourself but especially for others. If you pray for guidance you will do the best you can.

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