“Lord, is it fair that my sister sits there [at your feet] while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help.”…The Lord answered, “ Martha, Martha, you are in a dither about many things! Yet only one thing is needful and Mary has chosen it….” [Luke 9: 40, 41, 42].
Poor Martha! She really takes it on the chin for being so caught up in mundane tasks. Did Jesus expect her to leave her kitchen duties and join Mary at his feet? Maybe not. How then would their many guests get fed? Can’t we go about our ordinary tasks and still maintain a loving relationship with Jesus Christ? One answer is found in the reflections of a 17th century monk named Brother Lawrence, recorded in a book called Practicing the Presence of God. Before he went about his many menial tasks. Lawrence prayed a prayer something like this:
“O my GOD, I know you are always with me. Now as I go about my routine labors, I need your grace to keep me aware of your presence with me. Please prosper my labors but also keep my love and affections for you strong throughout the day.”
We believe it was Martha’s petulant attitude that Jesus corrected more than anything else. Could she not love and serve Christ in the kitchen as Mary did at his feet?
A few years ago I was on my way to meet up with the guys with whom I regularly played tennis. I had just finished my devotions.Suddenly it occurred to me that I was leaving the Lord back in my prayer closet. Wouldn’t he be honored if I invited him to come along with me on to the tennis court? So I prayed something like this. “Lord, please help me to be aware of your presence with me on the tennis court as well as at devotions.”
I felt the Lord smiling, saying “Fine, I will be your invisible partner.”
It was great playing tennis with him as well as my visible partners. After we played, as a bonus, I found it quite natural to engage with my friends in a spiritual exchange.
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