Be Still and Know . . .

38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. Luke 10:38-39 ESV

Mary and Martha. Just reading those names evoke images of a bustling Martha making her home perfect and welcoming for her Lord, Jesus, as Mary sits at his feet drinking in the teaching of her Savior.

40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” Luke 10:40 ESV

Bless her heart.

She meant well.

She had all the best intentions of the world.

She was doing what she had been taught was “the right thing to do,” and she was doing it with all her might. It was the way she could show Jesus that she loved Him, right?

But the love she meant to show soon became tempered with self-righteousness and pride. She couldn’t figure out how Mary, raised in the same household as she, was just sitting there, doing nothing, while she, the good daughter and sister, acted as servant. Their mama taught them better than that, didn’t she?

What did Jesus say to Martha?

41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

Mary was learning that the only way to truly be in tune with Jesus was to be still.

Martha, ever the pragmatic sister, had to be reminded to stop, and to open her heart and her mind to Jesus. She had to be still in order to hear Him, and to let Him into her heart.

Be-still-520x245I have always struggled with the “should” and “ought to” tasks in life. If I do good things in my own power, who gets the glory? If I’m constantly trying to take care of the messes before I have to admit them to God, what am I gaining? He knows the number of hairs on my head. Knowing what is on my mind isn’t much of a stretch.

If I experience a form of success, I learn to depend on my own brand of “goodness.” If I fail, I wonder why God wasn’t listening. Bitterness seeps in. Oh, but I kind of forgot to consult You, didn’t I? Hmmmm . . .

When I reach this point – and I do, often – I have to remind myself to BE STILL. God is there. He hasn’t moved. I have.

Psalm 46 takes my eyes off of myself, and puts them squarely where they need to be – on God.

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.

Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease

to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Psalm 46

I found the following video, and I hope you enjoy it. It’s an acoustic version of “Be Still” by Steven Curtis Chapman that is on the album “Deep Roots,” in which he is accompanied by his father, brother, sons, and other instrumentalists. It’s a blessing to me, and I hope to you, as you strive, along with me, to BE STILL.

The Road God has Placed Before You

When we hear about missionaries in other countries, we are amazed at their bravery, and sacrifice, and in awe of the adventure they experience each day. What can we do, here at home in the USA? Are we really making a contribution to God’s plan if we never leave our hometown?

Actually, Jesus gives us a precedent for this. He  first chose His very close disciples, who went everywhere with Him, and then, in Luke, Chapter 10, he appointed seventy more. In modern terms these were his “advance men”. They were to go before him, to test the waters, to prepare the community for His arrival.

Verse 3 acknowledges that Jesus knows these secondary disciples would endure persecution. “Behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.” But, He also tells them how to decide where they should do their work. He says they are to enter each house with these words from verse 5: “Peace be to this house.” If they are met with acceptance, with peace, they are instructed to stay. Verse 7 says: “Remain, eating and drinking such things as they give; for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.”

The workers are to stay, healing the sick, telling the townspeople that the kingdom of God is coming.

However, if they are rejected,verse 11 tells these workers  to move along, literally wiping the dust of the city off their shoes, while repeating the warning that the kingdom of God is coming.

In our day and time, we are met with rejection quite often when we try to share the Word of God. We learn to follow Jesus’ advice, to move along, repeating our message, until we find someone who does listen. Not all of us are called to be missionaries to foreign lands. For many of us, our harvest can be made right where we live. At school, at work, in our own neighborhoods. We spread His message of love and peace to every house, spending time with those who accept us, brushing the dust off when we are rejected. In this way, we gain the reputation of persistence, of peace, of God’s love. There will be no doubt that we are preparing the way for the Kingdom of God. Jesus has gone before us, and He is always with us. We will walk the road he chooses for us with a cheerful heart, knowing that a wonderful reward awaits.