8 October 2019
The word of the Lord was addressed a second time to Jonah: ‘Up!’ he said ‘Go to Nineveh, the great city, and preach to them as I told you to.’ Jonah set out and went to Nineveh in obedience to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was a city great beyond compare: it took three days to cross it. Jonah went on into the city, making a day’s journey. He preached in these words, ‘Only forty days more and Nineveh is going to be destroyed.’ And the people of Nineveh believed in God; they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least. The news reached the king of Nineveh, who rose from his throne, took off his robe, put on sackcloth and sat down in ashes. A proclamation was then promulgated throughout Nineveh, by decree of the king and his ministers, as follows: ‘Men and beasts, herds and flocks, are to taste nothing; they must not eat, they must not drink water. All are to put on sackcloth and call on God with all their might; and let everyone renounce his evil behaviour and the wicked things he has done. Who knows if God will not change his mind and relent, if he will not renounce his burning wrath, so that we do not perish?’ God saw their efforts to renounce their evil behaviour, and God relented: he did not inflict on them the disaster which he had threatened.
Jesus came to a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. She had a sister called Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet and listened to him speaking. Now Martha who was distracted with all the serving said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister is leaving me to do the serving all by myself? Please tell her to help me.’ But the Lord answered: ‘Martha, Martha,’ he said ‘you worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed, indeed only one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part; it is not to be taken from her.’
It is Mary who has chosen the better path
Since I was a young child, I must say I have a propensity to surround myself by ‘busy-ness’. I would just keep doing and before I knew it time would pass. There were many times when I would go on ‘autopilot’ and I would end up in a place, often not remembering the steps I got there. For that reason, I would not be able to remember if I had locked the car, or remember where I left my keys, or other items.
This was the reason why the story of Mary appeals to me; the way with she took time to sit at Jesus’ feet and just ‘be’. I am more like Martha, and I struggle when I am asked to be like Mary.
Over the years however, I have learned that it does not have to be one or the other. Instead, I have learned to take strength from being Martha by becoming more like Mary. During my day, I take time to sit at the feet of Jesus for short periods of time. I imagine myself looking at Him and asking Him for direction, daily. Over time, I have become a lot less distracted, and more ‘in tune’.
Along with this, was my realization that Mary and Martha represent more than just choosing between working mindlessly and sitting at His feet. Instead, the two sisters represent all interactions between my faith and the world.
For one, is the ‘faith and works’ discussion we often see in the book of James.
I see Martha as our works in the world, when we try to do our best for others. Yet, without being Mary, all these actions are not plugged into our faith; into Jesus. Rather than being one or the other, I embrace being the both of them.
We don’t have to choose to be either Martha or Mary. Instead, we can draw strength from each of them together!
(Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)
Prayer: Jesus Lord, help us to learn how to be with You at all times. Help us to always listen to You.
Thanksgiving: Thank You Jesus, for teaching us to always focus on You as we go about our days here on earth.