“But the Lord answered her,‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.’” Luke 10:41 (emphasis mine)
There are “many things” to do before next Thursday’s turkey dinner. (You may be scribbling a mental list in your head right now!) But the Savior’s wisdom can radically simplify our holiday. For, as he told Martha: “only one thing is necessary.”
What is this “one thing?” What are we to “sit and listen” to? Our Lord’s teaching.
There is nothing more important than hearing the Lord speak. It’s the one essential thing, the only thing that is necessary.
Mary understood. She longed to know Jesus, to learn all she could about Him. She wanted to hear everything He said. She didn’t want to miss one word that came out of His mouth. So she sat down right smack in front of the Lord so she could listen to His teaching.
Now Jesus wasn’t suggesting that Martha’s serving was wrong or even unimportant. I’m not suggesting we skip Thanksgiving dinner and encourage our family to “hit the pantry” instead.
Serving is important. Our Lord also taught us: “The greatest among you shall be your servant.”
But serving is not the most necessary thing.
There is only one thing that is truly necessary—listening to the Lord speak.
So as we head into the holidays, as we face the temptation to be distracted with much serving, or tempted about many things, let’s remind ourselves of Jesus’ words.
Should I be serving? There is one thing morenecessary!
Should I be worrying? This is completely unnecessary!
There is only one thing that is necessary.
And what is that?
To sit and listen to the Lord’s teaching, that’s what!
A few days ago, I received the following email from our church administrator, Tim. (I think he meant to send it to the North Pole.)
I have been a pretty good boy this year. I know you’ve been watching, so you know how hard I’ve been trying. There’s really just one thing I want this year and then I promise I’ll be even better next year. Could you get Nicole Whitacre to bring those killer-to-die-for crab crackers to the Pastors’ Christmas Party again this year? You could deliver a couple of cases of the crab meat to her so she could bring a lot and so I won’t feel so guilty eating hundreds of them. Do you have her address? She lives in Virginia, which is just outside Washington DC. If you’re coming by sleigh, just turn left at Great Falls and head west. Well Santa, I guess I’ll go now. Thanks for listening. Please check your list because I’m pretty sure I’ve been good.
P.S. Please let me know what jobs I can do for you.
The “killer-to-die-for crab crackers” recipe is from my friend (and fabulous cook), Jessica.
1 stick butter
1 jar Kraft Old English Cheese Spread
1 T. Mayonnaise
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 T. onion flakes
6 oz. crab meat (fresh or canned)
6 English muffins
Separate English muffins into halves. Mix all other ingredients together. Spread the mixture on muffin halves. Broil until browned and bubbly. Cut into quarters (if so desired) and serve immediately. If frozen, bake at 375 degrees for fifteen minutes and broil one minute at end. Freezes well.
“And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. but Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.” Luke 10:39-42
“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. but Martha was distracted with much serving.” Luke 10:38-40
Sitting is hard work. As women, we are doers by nature, not sitters. How can we sit when there is so “much serving” to do? Then the holidays hit. And we thought sitting was hard before.
After thirty five years of loving, reading, studying and meditating on God’s Word, I still have my Martha Moments: I am tempted to serve rather than sit.
Sadly, it doesn’t take much to distract me. It can be as simple as a breakfast bar wrapper.
I’ll be in the kitchen pouring a cup of coffee to have with my devotions when….
I notice the breakfast bar wrapper on the kitchen table that my son neglected to throw away the night before.
I throw it away and discover that the trashcan is full.
I take the trashcan to the garage to empty.
When I return the emptied trashcan to the kitchen, I discover that we are out of trash bags.
I go to the basement to get new trash bags only to remember the load of laundry in the dryer that I forgot to fold.
As I fold the laundry I realize I need to iron Chad’s school uniform for school that day.
Which reminds of the note I need to write to his teacher.
As I’m jotting a note, I hear CJ on the treadmill.
“I should hop in the shower now, because he’s going to need get in the shower as soon as he finishes exercising.”
By the time I get out of the shower it’s time to wake Chad for school and make his breakfast and pack his lunch…
Poof! Gone is that precious time to sit at the Lord’s feet.
But that’s not my only Martha Moment. I’ll share another one tomorrow.
While the kids napped on Saturday afternoon, Mom, Kristin, Janelle, and I had a conference call to plan the Thanksgiving holiday.
We reviewed the menu from last year. I suggested a few changes (as usual) and they vetoed them (as usual)—“Why mess with a good thing?” they ask. Good point. But I still might try to sneak in a new dish (don’t tell!).
We had a friendly argument (as only female members of the same family can) over whether we should play take-two or five hundred after the meal. It ended in a stalemate: two vs. two.
We hoped the weather wouldn’t be cold and rainy—after all, Dad insists we hold the Turkey Bowl, rain or shine, warm or cold, pregnant or not.
As soon as we finished the call, my mind was off and running with all that needed to be done: Get to Michaels before the Christmas decorations overtake the Thanksgiving stuff (I might already be too late)….find a Thanksgiving book for the kid’s story time…. print out Thanksgiving coloring pages….assemble the coupon books...pull out the recipes…make a grocery list….
But on that same phone call (because we never talk about just one thing) Mom reminded us of the story of Mary and Martha, and the importance of sitting at Jesus’ feet. We decided to make it our next series on the blog.
You know the story well:
“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. but Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
The holidays might seem like an odd time to talk about sitting and listening. But maybe it’s the most important time. When are we more “distracted with much serving”? When do worldly lights most threaten to obscure our vision of the Greatest Light of all?
So, come with us to Bethany this holiday season. In the midst of all the distractions, let’s sit at Jesus’ feet. And listen.
We first posted this “oldie but goodie” a few years ago, but when Tracey sent it in recently, we couldn’t resist putting it up again.
Have a happy weekend! Nicole for the girls
THE GOOD NAPKINS
This is too good to not share. I think we are the last generation to know what ‘napkins’ are. THE GOOD NAPKINS ... Ahhhhh The joys of having Girls.
My mother taught me to read when I was four years old (her first mistake). One day, I was in the bathroom and noticed one of the cabinet doors was ajar. I read the box in the cabinet. I then asked my mother why she was keeping ‘napkins’ in the bathroom. Didn’t they belong in the kitchen? Not wanting to burden me with unnecessary facts, she told me that those were for ‘special occasions’ (her second mistake).. Now fast forward a few months. It’s Thanksgiving Day, and my folks are leaving to pick up my uncle and his wife for dinner. Mom had assignments for all of us while they were gone. Mine was to set the table (her third mistake). When they returned, my uncle came in first and immediately burst into laughter. Next came his wife, who gasped, then, began giggling. Next came my father, who roared with laughter. Then came Mom, who almost died of embarrassment when she saw each place setting on the table with a ‘special occasion’ Kotex napkin at each plate, with the fork carefully arranged on top. I had even tucked the little tail in so they didn’t hang off the edge!! My mother asked me why I used these and, of course, my response sent the other adults into further fits of laughter. ‘But, Mom, you said they were for special occasions!!!’
“Women, whose lives are harder, need jokes more than men and make them more often.” Paul Johnson
“Each sphere of life has its own set of restrictions regarding gender roles. In the previous chapter, we saw that the Bible provides certain restrictions for female saints in the sphere of the church. Earlier we saw that the Bible gives principles for women in the sphere of the family as wives and mothers. As we move into the sphere of the public square, we notice that the Bible is much less precise in regulating the roles and activities of women. As we cross the river into this final chapter, I believe the Scriptures speak less dogmatically and provide more liberty to women in their decisions about their roles in the public square (politics, military service, recreation, employment, etc.). Therefore, I will write this chapter in a more flexible tone. Instead of saying, ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ I’ll be saying, ‘Come, let us reason together.’”
We appreciate this chapter as much for what it does not say as for what it does say. Mr. Chanski takes care not to insist on points where Scripture is silent. But he also provides wise, gracious, and reasonable counsel as it relates to a godly woman’s role in various public arenas—politics, the sports field, combat and the workforce. If you are facing decisions related to one or more of these areas, this chapter is well-worth a thoughtful read.
And so we conclude our Womanly Dominion book club study. We hope you’ve benefited from Mr. Chanski’s bold appeal for women to fulfill their God-given calling.
We chose this book—and in fact, we write each post—with one ultimate goal in mind. Long-time readers hopefully know what that is, but it’s best summed up by my husband in this short video clip posted by CBMW. He’s speaking to pastors, but his words apply to us as well.
“To the extent that the church understands and applies biblical manhood and womanhood I believe the church will be strengthened in her role as a pillar and support of the truth of the gospel.”
We warned you from the get-go that this blog would never be cutting edge. (Our new site makes us look more professional than we are.) So it shouldn’t surprise you that it’s taken us four and a half years—but you can finally subscribe to girltalk via email.
To subscribe, click on the RSS button at the top of the page, choose “Get girltalk delivered by email” and follow the directions.
Here are three more worthy winners of the ESV Study Bible…
Kristina nominated her sister:
What a great idea for a contest! My husband and I made a priority of getting ourselves this study Bible when it was published last year… and we both love it! I was just thinking the other day about how my sister in Georgia would benefit from this Bible. She has two babies (13 months and 2 months), she is moving next week, and her husband deploys to Iraq in December. I am so aware that I can’t do much for her, but what she really needs is the strength of God’s Word! I think this Bible would be such a source of hope and help for her in this season.
Rachael entered her sister-in-law:
I would like to enter my sister-in-law Ashley for the ESV Bible. Ashley is married to my brother and she has the sweetest spirit and heart for the Lord. Back in January I joined the 5am club, Ashley always said she could never do that. Well, this summer she read your book “Shopping for Time” and she was hooked. We have made a deal to hold each other accountable in this and periodically we will ask how the other is doing waking up in the morning. She has joined an in-depth Bible study group this year and I know she would benefit from this Bible. I just got one for my birthday in June and she loved looking through it as we talked about all the fun features and notes. I know what a benefit this Bible has been to me and I would love to share this with my sister in Christ.
P.S. I sent in an entry for my sister-in-law, Ashley yesterday but I need to add an additional comment. Ashley just called to tell me that her new dog chewed up her Bible. So, she REALLY does need this Bible now! Thanks.
Emily nominated a young women in the youth group at her church:
My husband Brandon has the privelege of working as youth pastor at Campbell Baptist Church in Windsor, Ontario. I would love for one of the girls in our youth group, Amanda, to receive the ESV Study Bible. Here are a few reasons: First, last year she shared that she takes her Bible with her to her public high school every day. She reads it whenever she has a few free minutes. She has had the opportunity to share her faith with classmates who have asked what she’s doing. The Word of God is very important to her, so this Bible would get a lot of good use! Second, our senior pastor just recently introduced the ESV Study Bible to our congregation during an evening service, with the hopes that one day soon our church will switch to ESV as the version used for teaching/preaching in our services. So, Amanda would be ready for when this happens. Third, it is her birthday on Saturday, so I would like to give it to her as a birthday gift!!! Thank you for doing this.