The prospect of entertaining guests in our homes can be exciting as well as anxiety producing. Hosting guests definitely requires work. We make sure the house is clean and in good order. If we are hosting a dinner, the food needs to be purchased and prepared. We put effort into preparing for guests so they will have a good time and feel at home. When guests are coming, our usual focus is on what we can do for them.
This was Martha’s concern when Jesus visited her and her sister Mary (Luke 10:38-42). She was busying herself with the details of hospitality so that Jesus would be comfortable. Her focus was on serving him. On the other hand, her sister Mary, instead of helping Martha serve Jesus, seated herself at his feet and listened to his every word. It was almost as if, rather than seeing what she could do for Jesus, she ceased her activity in order to see what he could offer to her. She sensed that Jesus was not interested in people fussing over him. His desire was to share his life giving Word with Martha and Mary. Instead of wanting to be served, he wanted to serve them with his grace-filled presence. And Jesus said Mary had chosen the better portion.
We are invited to choose the better portion as well. Like Martha who was consumed with the details of her idea of how things should be, we have our own
agendas. We have our way of doing things and our thoughts about how things should be. We can get so caught up in the details of what we have already determined needs to be done that we do not allow Jesus to serve us with his wisdom and grace. We get stuck in our familiar ways and close ourselves to letting anything new from God touch us.
It is not likely that God is going to show up at our front doors. However, God could show up in the newness of a morning or the quiet of an evening. God is present in our gatherings at church and in the guests who cross the thresholds of our homes and hearts. Like Mary, before springing into action or arriving at conclusions, we can pause and let God serve us with his wisdom and grace. This is the better portion.
Together in faith,
Fr. Christopher Smith, Rector