Now it came to pass, as they went, that He entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard His Word. But Martha was cumbered about (distracted with) much serving, and came to Him, and said, Lord, dost Thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10: 38-42
Does this passage remind you of the typical mother? Open to the Lord. Right in touch with Jesus. In the home busy serving. Going to Jesus with the struggles that inevitably come with complete devotion to the call of womanhood.
Of all of the many wonderful things we may do in life, there is no greater call than that call of serving God in our homes. I do not struggle with temptations to go my own way…be my own person…have riches or fame…or get away from the “drudgery” of womanhood for that illusive life out in the world. No. My struggles seem to mount as I try to serve those so dear to me with all that I have—my whole heart, soul, and mind.
My problem arises not out of selfishness of my heart, but often from the selflessness of wanting from the very depths of my heart to be completely sold out to God. The funny thing is that in this passage, I find Martha to be kindred. Her error was one that I make over and over and OVER again. Yes, bound in the plans…preparations…serving. Bound and anxious. Bound and troubled. Bound and empty in the midst of the demands.
Oh, it is not that I do not desire those precious moments sitting at the feet of my blessed Saviour. It is not that I do not snatch every single moment available all along the way. Nor is it that I do not know the sustenance for my very soul that is quenched as I draw closer to my dear Lord. It is just that as a wife and mother there are so many things vying for the attention, priority, and commitment that much too often I find my days full of Martha “things.” Often, I find my very soul hungry and parched…in deep need of the one thing that is needful. That good part. That which shall not be taken away. My daily manna!
Daily Manna is not an option. We find in the book of Exodus that God provided His people with a daily provision intended to quench their hunger. They were not any different from Martha…OR us! When they found themselves in the midst of their journey, they murmured and complained at the apparent lack of provision and care of God. In the midst of their anxiety and complaints, we find that God’s answer was the same—that timeless answer for the hunger of the soul…daily manna!
Our days are going to be filled with the constant demands of serving others. Our journey will be long as we lead our little grumblers on into God’s land of promise. Our lives will be full of the Martha things. Yet, we must draw near to the Lord right in the midst of the flurry all around us. Our ministry as godly women is too important to neglect this feeding of our soul…this drawing forth of our Lord’s strength and power…this step-by-step guidance through His perfect plan for our lives. Yes, we have a call to sit at the feet of Jesus to take time for what is needful–the good part–that which cannot be taken away.
So how do we do it? Is there a 3-step plan? I am afraid that it is just not that simple. Or maybe it is. Going back to Exodus, God gives His rules for manna. Let’s look at them quickly to get some ideas for preparing for the greatest of priorities…our daily manna from God!
How to’s for MANNA…
If the Israelites were to receive their daily provision, they had to trust God for the amount they needed every single day. This required faith! This required a continual dependence upon the Lord. This required a daily time of gathering from His abundant provision.
Manna is to be 1st gathered for self THEN the number of persons in YOUR tent! I love this picture. For one thing, this is the very opposite of our natural inclinations. We would naturally gather for the world…then of course for those near and dear to us if we had a little extra (reminds me of times I have baked goodies for others only to let my family eat the cookies or muffins that broke or looked funny!)…then we would take the last bit, if there were any left over. This is the typical pattern that we see modeled by so many Christians. Instead, here in Scripture, we see a picture of how God sustained His people. This picture offers us a picture of the correct order of service and evangelism.
First, we take care of our own relationship with the Lord. No one will want that which we do not KNOW firsthand. However, the passion that comes from moments sitting at the feet of Jesus is contagious. Those within our home will KNOW it. Just as we find in 1 Peter 3 that the way to “win” our men is through our manner of life. So, this is the key to leading all of those in our tent to the Lord. Our holiness will first change OUR life…then those closest to us…then the world around us!
Manna is to be gathered and used EACH Day! We cannot live off of our manna from yesterday OR save it for another day! Manna is a perfect picture of our need to go to God for His daily feeding of our soul. The provision was given to all of God’s children every single day. They were free to take all they desired. The problems developed as some tried to store away for another day. I have been JUST like this in my spiritual walk. Let’s face it. There are days that God’s Word is so very special to us. You know, those mountain top experiences where God’s Word is truly the fulfilling manna that our soul craves? We want to cleave to those experiences and live off of that feeding for days or years, rather than go out and gather from the new daily provision. The unique thing is that God knows our tendency. He has set forth guidelines that offer true fulfillment. It only takes coming into His presence each and every day for His provision for our soul.
Finally, since manna melts in the heat, we must gather more when we find ourselves in the heat of trials! Have you noticed how parched and hungry you are in the midst of extreme heat? In the midst of our spiritual trials, we find the temperature climbing and with that rise in temperature, we find the need for more of God’s Word. It is His Word that sustains the battle weary soldier. In the heat of the battle, the greatest need is MORE of the Word because His Words provide all the weary soul needs.
Mary OR Martha???
So, how about you? Do you find yourself to be more like Martha or Mary? Do you buckle under the pressures or are you already sitting at the feet of Jesus? Take time each and every day to lift your heart before the Lord. Make your time with God a priority…planned into each and every day…NOT set at your first free or quiet moment! Look at your day…be creative…make your quiet time fit into your day! Stay faithful.
Be reasonable with your expectations. If you are a busy mom with little ones, expect hindrances and obstacles because you have an enemy who wants to defeat you. What better way to render you ineffective than to keep you so busy with preparations…so preoccupied with serving that you cannot sit at the feet of Jesus? This need not happen. Recognize the value of feeding your soul. If there is one thing that will make you a better mother, it is taking the time necessary to feed your soul. This can be in the very midst of your little ones running and playing around you. This can be seized all throughout the day. The value to your home is incalculable!
My dear friend, one thing is needful. What will be said of your choice? Is it the good part? That which shall not be taken away? My prayer is that your choice will be that daily manna!
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