At His Feet
Life is full of choices. Those choices may start out as simple as getting out of bed in the morning and choosing what to eat for breakfast, or what to wear for the day. When I was young, it was choosing whose lunch table I wanted to sit at, if I should do my homework or not, or listen to my mom when she told me to clean my room. How simple those choices seem now. I have found that the older I get, the more difficult my choices have become, and how much greater the consequences are for those choices…good or bad. My choices have gone from whose lunch table to sit at to should I go to college, and if so, which one? And then from should I do my homework or not, to which job opportunities should I pursue? And from cleaning my room to what friends should I surround myself with, should I get married or not, when should we start a family, and everything in between. These choices can even come with unforeseen circumstances that seem to obstruct my path, making my list of things to stress about longer and longer. All of these choices have one thing in common – they are defined by how I choose to spend my time. I have learned that where I choose to spend my time determines how I handle my life’s circumstances.
I want to take us to Luke chapter 10, verses 38-42:
“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 replied, “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.”
There is so much truth that speaks to me in this small passage! There are many times when I have felt like Martha. The blatant frustration in her tone towards Jesus is one I know all too well. She basically looks at Jesus and says, “Hey dude! Tell my lazy sister to get up off the floor and help me out here! I’m doing this all by myself!” Ouch! When I first read this, I was embarrassed for the poor girl. How could she have spoken to Jesus so rudely?! I was quickly humbled when the Lord reminded me that there have been many times throughout my life when I have held the same attitude with Jesus and those around me. Martha is probably tired and stressed out because she’s trying to prepare an extravagant meal for the Messiah Himself, and I can only imagine how she wanted everything to be perfect and in its proper place. And to me, this gathering sounds last minute – unexpected – which is most likely adding to her stress. So looking over to find her sister, Mary, sitting on the floor amidst Martha’s hard work just made everything seem worse for Martha. But what I find interesting is that Jesus did not request this perfect meal. The passage just explains that He and His disciples were in town, and Martha invited them into her home. That’s it! It is Martha who has put this unnecessary pressure upon herself. Not Jesus.
Take a look at verse 40:
“But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.”
Immediately following this sentence, Martha starts to bark orders at Jesus about having Mary help her. This is when her frustration comes to its peak. In the scriptures, Jesus made no requirement for Martha or Mary to prepare anything extravagant. Martha simply chooses to become distracted by her own expectations. Martha’s expectations fall flat because they do not match up with what is required of her. I want to make the point that I don’t think what Martha was doing – preparing a nice meal – was wrong. Her intentions were very honorable! The fault came when Martha chose to listen to her own voice and try to meet her own expectations, over that of her Father’s. Imagine the true joy Martha may have had preparing that meal had she only chosen to sit at her Father’s feet first.
Now let’s avert our attention to Martha’s sister, Mary. Verses 39, 41 & 42 read,
“She (Martha) had a sister called Mary,
who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said…
“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.”
According to Jesus, where Mary is choosing to sit and how she is choosing to spend her time is what is most important. She isn’t just sitting on the couch in front of her favorite Netflix series. Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus. She is resting at the very feet of the Man that created her and knows every part of who she is, and who she has yet to become. I don’t know this, but I wonder if Mary was eventually going to join Martha with the preparations – she just wanted to draw strength from her Father first.
In verses 41 and 42, we see Jesus’ response to Martha. He basically explains to Martha that Mary has chosen to do what is required of her at that moment. Mary chose to ignore what society may have expected from her in that situation and instead chose to listen to the voice of her Maker. How many times do we become distracted by what we think is expected of us? We are so busy running around trying to fix everything on our own, meet everyone else’s expectations, and make everything seemingly “perfect” that we completely exhaust ourselves and everyone around us!
I don’t know about you, friend, but I want to be a warrior that chooses to operate at the feet of Jesus. Amidst the beautiful and ugly chaos of this life, it is so easy to slip into the lie that we have to “get it right” every time. It is so easy to try and do everything on our own. It is so easy to forget who we are, and allow the world to tell us who we should be. The world has a sneaky way of whispering to our tired souls the lie that we should follow our own voices and our own expectations. But it is only at the feet of Jesus where our battle-wearied souls can safely rest while being reminded of who we are and to Whom we belong. It is only there that our swords are sharpened, properly prepared for yet another day of battle. It is only there that we can truly know what is required of us. When we sit at Jesus’ feet, we become familiar with His voice. He becomes our Commander and Chief, our Fortress, our Healer, and our Strength. Our lives soon become a reflection of His heart because we are listening to His expectations. All of who we are meant to be is formed only at the feet of Jesus.
Life is full of choices. As warriors of the King, our two most important choices are how we spend our time, and whose voice we listen to. So let’s take time this week to rest at the feet of Jesus and listen to the One who lovingly commands what is expected of us.