“But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42).
It is often difficult for Christians today to choose between that which is “good” and that which is “the best.” In this text, we find two women, Mary and Martha—they were sisters of Lazarus and friends of Jesus. Here is Martha busying herself with much serving after having welcomed Jesus into her house. Don’t miss the glory in that—she welcomed Jesus into her house (Luke 10:38). That is a good thing really. But then the text says that she “was distracted with much serving”.
Ever feel that way? Feel what way? Well, the word “distracted” here refers to being drawn in different ways at the same time. Have you ever been pulled in two different directions at one time? Probably most of you are saying, “Two?” “How about 57!” Apparently there was a decision that Martha made—at first she welcomed Jesus into her home and then at some point her attention was drawn away from Jesus to some evidently elaborate preparations. Now, again that was a good thing, at least temporarily good. But what makes the difference between the good and the best? The key to choosing that which is the best as opposed to that which is “good”, is seeking the eternal. Notice what Jesus says of Mary, “Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” It was as if there were portions set before the women, Mary took that portion which is the needful—the necessary, the good. But the implication is that Martha did not. What made Mary’s choice right? Why is her choice the “good part”? Because what Mary chose is that “which will not be taken away from her”. Literally the word means that which will not be amputated—that which will not be stripped away. Wow, now that really makes sense doesn’t it. How much of what I am doing will be amputated from me?
When it comes to being pulled in all kinds of directions between “the good” and “the best” we need to seek that which is of eternal value as opposed to that which will be pulled away from us. Let me give you an example. Over the past few weeks our home has been a buzz of activity. It seems like as soon as daylight begins to shine things get into high gear. The neighbor kids have been coming around every day—as soon as they possibly can. We’ve been enjoying fellowship with missionaries, friends, and family while having them for dinner. And there’s been that “school-year” mentality with our own children. So needless to say when it comes to all of the “stuff” that must be done around the house—dishes, preparing the garden, cleaning, school work, homework etc… we tend to fall behind. Then the guilt begins to set in. But I reminded Joanie this past week that welcoming the neighborhood to our home and demonstrating the love of Christ and even sharing Bible truths with them is eternal stuff, sweeping the kitchen floor can wait. There will be tomorrow and if not, well then does it really matter anyway?
Of course, I am forced to put a disclaimer on this because somebody is going to be saying right about now, “So I don’t need to clean my house?” Well, that’s for you to judge, but I can say if cleaning your house stands in the way of ministering to the needy then put that vacuum away because that will be amputated from you some day. In the words of Augustine, “Love God and do as you please.”