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The one thing you need this summer...

What a gift from the Lord our British summers are: warm days, long evenings, and summer holidays -we receive them all with thanksgiving! The summer months can also be busy, and as we look forward to them, let’s remember the one thing we all really need. Remember Mary and Martha? 

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.” Luke 10:38-42

It’s an easy scene to picture: Martha, a whirlwind of activity, rushing in and out and around! Mary, attentively sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to him. Does your life sometimes feel Martha-like? A whirlwind of activity? There’s nothing wrong with being busy; indeed, God repeatedly condemns laziness. But there is a problem when our whirlwind of activity prevents us from sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to him. What encouragement does Jesus give to those of us with this Martha-like tendency? 

Firstly, remember that sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to him is a first priority. Jesus says ‘"few things are needed - or indeed only one"’. Sitting with, and listening to, Jesus is like the bedrock foundation for our lives. It’s the foundation to all the other things that we do. The more you make sitting and listening to Jesus a priority in your life, the less anxious and stressed you will be by the other demands and activities of life. To put it simply, to prioritise Jesus (like Mary) will mean neglecting other things (often intentionally). To prioritise other things (like Martha), will mean neglecting Jesus (often unintentionally). 

Secondly, remember that sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to him is an active choice. Jesus says ‘"Mary has chosen what is better"’. Sometimes I chat with believers who struggle to make it to church, or to give Jesus much time in their lives, and they speak as if they are helplessly trapped by their busy schedule. But all of us make choices: Martha made her choice; Mary made hers. Jesus is clear: ‘"Mary has chosen what is better"’. 

So as we head into another busy Summer season, can I urge us all to follow the example of Mary, so warmly commended by Jesus? To make sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to him a first priority and an active choice. That could mean looking ahead at your weekends, and making sure church isn’t being squeezed out - perhaps coming back a little earlier from a weekend away to be there. It could mean picking up your Bible again each morning and starting the day at the feet of Jesus. It could mean making time for fellowship with Christians friends in the midst of everything else. 

I can hear Jesus’ words as if spoken to me: '“Sam, Sam,” 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…”' 

Will you join me this summer in making sitting at Jesus’ feet your first priority and your active choice? 


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