…Mary…sat at Jesus that good parts’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving…And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part….” Luke 10:38-42
Mary serves as an example for all of us that to be Jesus disciples means we slow down and live in deep friendship with God.
The phrase “that good part” is a food term. It means the best part of the meal. The prime cut of meat. Martha was so distracted by her overcooked potatoes that she missed the meal of a lifetime—the good part of human existence is sitting in her living room sharing the Bread of Life.
Mary found soul satisfying sustenance at the feet of Jesus. How can I find that one thing needed? How can we learn what Mary learned? I think one way is by deliberately slowing down and placing ourselves in a position that we have to wait. Here are a few suggestions for slowing down:
- For one month, drive in the slow lane.
- Declare a fast from honking.
- Twice a week cook a complete meal with fresh ingredients from scratch and without use of the microwave.
- For the next month, when you’re at the grocery store, look for the longest checkout line. Get in it. Let one person go ahead of you.a
- Go through one day without wearing a watch.
You get the idea. Find ways to deliberately choose waiting, ways that make hurry impossible. Don’t worry that if you don’t rush, you aren’t being very productive. Researchers have found that there is no correlation between, multi-tasking, Type-A behavior and productivity.
Another thing we could do is to practice sacred reading. We have more access to the teachings of Jesus in our generation than any in history and yet survey after survey indicates that we are the most Biblically illiterate generation in history.
When I was growing up the number of versions of the Bible was roughly equal to the number of T.Vs channels available. We had the King James Version and we had the Red Letter Version of the King James Version.
Today we have versions too numerous to count. You can read it on your phone, tablet, ipad, listen to it, and even have it emailed to you every day. There is an app for it on your phone. And yet we don’t feed on His Word.
What if we learn to read it like it is a letter from a friend or a love letter.
I received an email from an author I admire who read my blog last week and he said some very moving things about the story. I promise you, I have read and re-read and re-read that email many times. I am savoring it.
What would happen if we did that with the book that we say that we love? What if we read the Gospels, not for data, but read slowly and, as you do, invite Jesus to be present with you during the reading. Slow down, chew your food, and assimilate the meat of the Word.
Add to sacred reading— listening prayer. Mary’s posture her is not rattling off her list of stuff she wants Jesus to do for her. She adores Jesus for who he is, not what he can do for her.
When was the last time you sat down and didn’t ask God for anything but just enjoyed his presence? Becoming comfortable with silence is where depth of relationship occurs.
Sometimes when Nette and I go out to dinner we are seated by a young couple who are on their first date or first few dates. It is fun to eaves drop on their conversations. I do it without shame. And what you hear is chatter like the infield of a little league baseball team when someone is up to bat.
What he likes to do, what she likes to do. Where he has been, what movies she enjoys. It’s almost like it would be the unforgivable sin if there were thirty seconds of silence hanging between them.
At those times, I will look at my wife and smile and a knowing look leaps between us. Because when you have lived in love for more than three decades, you don’t need to fill the air with words. It’s just enough to be in her presence and see her smile.
Mary sat and listened to Jesus. Can you do that?
Mother Teresa walked in complete obscurity for decades before the world found out about her. Every day during those years of obscurity she prayed and communed before her Lord in silence. Then when she became famous she continued her practice silent adoration.
The fruit of silence is prayer.
The fruit of prayer is faith.
The fruit of faith is love.
The fruit of love is service.
The fruit of service is peace.
She was interviewed one time and asked if she really prayed every day. She nodded that he did. The reporter followed up with the question, “What do you say to God?”
“Mostly I just listen.”
The reporter is growing cynical and wryly asked, “What does God say to you when you listen?”
She smiled and whispered, “He mostly listens too.”
The way out of the frenetic life is simple, but it is not easy. It takes willful intention. But when you fall in love it isn’t hard to adjust your behavior for your beloved. Build into your life practices that put you at His feet. And, while there, be still, listen, and know that He is God.