Keeping Up Appearances

April 27, 1998
by Kaye Lockwood

Luke 10:48-52 – 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 Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations hat 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 answered, "you are worried and upset about many things. But only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Have you ever considered how much time, effort, and expense we put into keeping up appearances? The appearance of efficiency? Of beauty? Of prosperity? Of control? Of generosity? I suppose Martha was involved in something like this. Jesus didn't "phone ahead" to let her know that he was arriving with a group of disciples. Without warning, she has a lot of things to do to prepare for the care and feeding of several guests. She was anxious that everything appear to be done "decently and in order." Like most of us, her standards for her own performance were probably too high. So she became frustrated … frustrated with her sister for abandoning her, and with Jesus for seeming uncaring. (Strike a familiar chord?)

We all face days like this, sooner or later, when the demands of life become overwhelming. I had one recently. Company coming, and the effects of an overnight "flood." The morning was full of insurance adjusters and clean-up crews. Furniture was piled away from wet areas, and de- humidifiers and powerful fans installed that began blasting a noisy symphony. The whole house was vibrating. Hoses and cables criss-crossed the kitchen floor, and I remembered that I had to make cookies for a church function. I needed a few moments to collect my thoughts. I picked up the Bible and the Bible Society reading guide, and escaped to the one quiet area. The passage for that day was the one quoted from Luke 10. The one phrase that stood out for me that day, and almost every day since, is Jesus' reply to Martha's complaint: "Martha, Martha" (read Kaye, Kaye) "You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed." To sit at Jesus feet, and hear him. It puts the world back in focus.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for reminding us that in all circumstances, one thing is needed. By your spirit, make your word known to us, and be the light on our pathway today. Amen.

About the author:

Kaye Lockwood <rosswitmer@rogers.com>
Barrie, Ontario, Canada

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