The One Good Thing

Read: Luke 10

But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42, NLT)

Jesus was a real champion of women’s rights—perhaps the first. The religious rules of that day prohibited a woman from being a disciple to a rabbi. But Jesus not only allowed Mary to “sit at his feet” (Luke 10:39, NLT), he praised her for it

Allowing her to “sit at his feet” was accepting Mary, a woman, as his disciple. Jesus was giving her the same right as men to be schooled in his theology, to do his work and minister in his name. He was breaking with the long-held customs of the time, something akin to the emancipation of slaves to full rights of citizenship in the deep South in the 1800’s.

By welcoming Mary as his disciple, Jesus sent a clear signal that all the barriers preventing intimacy with God had been removed. Everyone in Jesus’ community of disciples now had equal freedom, equal dignity and equal access to God. Gender, ethnicity, background, or any other man-made qualifications aside, to “sit at Jesus’ feet” was to accept his invitation to a life of purpose and significance in his kingdom.

Not only did Jesus accept Mary as his disciple, he went out of his way to praise her: “There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42, NLT)  Literally, the text says that Mary chose “the good”.

Jesus praised Mary’s openness. She was demonstrating total receptivity to Jesus. While her sister Martha had received Jesus into her house, Mary had received Jesus into her heart. Moreover, Jesus praised Mary’s daring devotion. She did what only men were allowed to do—sit at a rabbi’s feet to learn. Luke 10:39 says, “sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught.”

This wasn’t the only time Mary had done this. It was a pattern in her relationship with Jesus. In John 11:32 we see that Mary fell at his feet in prayer when her brother had died. In John 12:3 she fell at his feet in worship—an act, by the way, which cost her a keepsake worth a year’s salary as well as the criticism of the other disciples.

If you read those passages, you will notice that each time Mary fell at Jesus’ feet there was an associated fragrance: In Luke, the meal brought the fragrance of hospitality. When her brother died, it was the smell of death—and with her grief, the fragrance of unmitigated supplication to the One who claimed to be the resurrection and the life. When she fell at his feet and anointed them with outrageously expensive perfume, it was the fragrance of sacrificial worship. Each time she fell at his feet, Mary was demonstrating that she was a fully devoted follower of Jesus.

Along with Mary’s total receptivity and daring devotion, Jesus praised her for her outstanding courage. Her willingness to sit at his feet was a costly choice! In a Jewish writing called the Mishnah, a commentary on the Law of Moses that had been elevated to equal status with the Law, it was written, “Let thy house be a meeting house for the Sages and sit amid the dust of their feet, drink in their words with thirst, but talk not much with womankind.” What she did was something a woman just didn’t do. Making Jesus her priority was truly sacrificial. It cost Mary not only Martha’s anger and the disciples’ criticism, but it also drew the religious establishment’s ire.

Jesus, however, said that Mary made the better choice. She chose the good, and her story was recorded not only as an eternal acknowledgment of her devotion to the Lord, but as a perpetual challenge to followers like you and me. You see, at the end of the day, this story is about the daily choices we face to either carry on with our regular, and in most cases, justifiable routines, or to make following Christ our highest priority—to sit at his feet in total receptivity, daring devotion and courageous worship.

Your highest priority today will be to make the time to “sit at Jesus’ feet”. If you do, you will have chosen the good!

“Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it.” ~Corrie Ten Boom

What If God Took Over

Do you struggle with a daily quiet time where you can enjoy uninterrupted and intimate fellowship with Jesus?  Here is an idea:  Put it on your calendar as a daily appointment—and then honor it like you would any other important event.  You might think this makes something that should be spontaneous a bit rigid, but in this day and age of overcrowded schedules, I think it might be the best thing you could ever do.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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