Meditations for Troubled Times
About 20 years ago, Joanna Weaver wrote a book called Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. This is a catchy title, and it captures the struggle we saw this past Sunday in Luke 10:38-42. Martha, though wanting to serve Jesus out of love, became distracted, preoccupied, or pulled away by that very service. The cares of the world, in this case not evil in themselves, took an evil priority; namely, service for Jesus substituted for intimacy with Jesus.
As I preached this probing narrative, I challenged all of us to search the heart and see what are the things distracting us from the one thing necessary—time at the feet of Jesus. This is such a crucial question for our hearts that I wanted to dig up the sermon again to remind us how vital it is to analyze our priorities. As I put my own soul under the microscope, I confess that I am guilty of rushing to my to-do list without the vital, concentrated effort of communion with God. In the kindness of the Lord, the Spirit pricks my conscience, and I’m forced back to “first things.” But I know my soul easily drifts, and I know I’m not alone in this.
So, I often have to recalibrate my thinking to “the good portion,” which Mary chose. Mary rightly recognized that the best meal is always found before the face of Jesus. For what characterizes the people of God is hearing the Savior’s voice. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). Note the order of action in this verse. Sheep first hear and then follow. They are known by Christ as they commune with him, and then they walk after the Savior.
Knowing this is true, what are we doing to contemplate Jesus, to sit before him and meditate on his character and work, so that we might then walk worthily of him? What are our patterns of Bible reading and study, which are shaping our living? We saw on the Lord’s Day that theology isn’t just for professionals. Theology is for stay-at-home moms and blue-collar laborers. Theology is for overwhelmed minds, encumbered by troubles, and for young minds, who are only beginning to understand how to think rightly. If this is true, are we engaged in theological reflection because we want to know our Lord?
Paul tells us in view of the mercies of God in the gospel, that is, due to the magnitude of the Father’s grace in giving his Son and pouring out the Spirit to enliven our hearts, our lives are to be offered as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). In other words, we are consecrated to God. But as we pursue a life of consecration, we must take this perpetual action. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:2).
The transforming work is God’s work. The command is “be transformed,” which is a passive verb. The Lord must do this, but we are yet called to be active. Our minds must be renewed, and this means we must make use of the means of renewal. This means of change in our thinking is the life-giving, ever-sanctifying word of God. Are you then going to the fountain, the refreshing streams of the word, so that your mind will be conformed to Jesus? Are you craving the pure spiritual milk like a newborn baby? May we all seek more of Christ through the means that reveals Christ, the word of life! May we choose the right meal!
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