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.
Over Christmas I was reminded of the story from Luke 10. Although Martha wishes to show hospitality, as soon as Jesus enters, Martha busies herself with preparing a meal and the tasks of serving their guest, whilst Mary sits at Jesus' feet listening attentively to His words.
Unfortunately, Martha's distraction and worry leave no room for the most important aspect of hospitality - gracious attention to the guest. She prevented herself from being truly present with Jesus, and this caused resentment and a wedge between her sister and herself, and between Jesus and herself.
I reflected on some of Martha's behaviours during Jesus' visit, and I actually aligned them to some of my own when we entertain. Although I love to serve and show hospitality, I realised that I sometimes focus more on the welcoming, entertaining, feeding and cleaning up after shared meals than on just sitting, being and listening with our guests. How much more important would that be when the guest is Jesus!
Both listening and doing, receiving God's Word and serving others, are vital to the Christian life. However, trying to serve without being nourished by God's Word is like expecting good fruit to grow from a tree that has not been bathed in sunshine.
We do know that Jesus invites all of us who are overly busy and distracted by many things to sit and rest in His presence, to hear His words of grace and truth, to know that we are loved and valued as children of God, to be renewed in faith and strengthened for service.
Remember, as we embrace 2019, there is need of only one thing: attention to our guest, our Lord, teacher and companion - Jesus Christ. As it turns out, our guest is also our host, with abundant gifts and blessings to give.
Yours in Christ,
Dawn Penney & the Korus Connect Team
Click here to download the PDF version of this month's Prayer Diary.