A guest post by Chris Maxwell, who appeared on my blog last year and who has just released Pause with Jesus: Encountering His Story in Everyday Life. I’m so excited to receive my copy that I just had to share an excerpt! Congratulations, Chris, on this fourth book in your “Pause” series, and thank you for these words in response to Jesus at the home of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42).
Remember this. It was Martha who opened the door for Jesus. We often treat Martha like she told Jesus to stay outside while she spent a few days fixing the house to impress Him. She welcomed Jesus.
That is good.
That is what I need to do.
But she was “distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.” That, though understandable and common, wasn’t good. That is what I often do. Don’t you?
Let’s try this. Pause a moment and contemplate on the story. Each scene: distracted. . . by all the preparations. . . that had to be made.
Distracted? By her perfectionistic side? By her humble heart? By the need to impress? By sincere courtesy? How many preparations? Did they all really need to be made?
Add that sentence to your story.
What are your distractions? What are you preparing for? Do they really have to be made?
As I contemplate on her story, their story, and my story, I think of my doing. I know the importance of many actions I take. I investigate the motives in my impure self. I am aware of my distractions. I reach conclusions like this: I need the heart of a Mary while using the hands of a Martha. And this: be still. And this: sit a while. And this: rest. And this: invite Jesus to the kitchen.
Instead of asking Jesus to tell someone to come help me, what if I need to go to Him in this moment?
“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.”
Needed? Few things. Really, only one.
I pray I choose the better, like Mary. I pray it will not be taken from me.
Even when the kitchen is calling.
Even when the flight number is announced and I am to board the plane. Even when my name is called and I am to stand on a stage. Even when my name isn’t called and my value feels questionable. Even when doubts and fears suggest I avoid their existence by working so hard I hardly know what’s really inside me and beside me. Even when my fingers type these words on this keyboard to appear on this screen and later on this book’s pages, I am to be with Jesus.
Seeing. Hearing. Being. While busy, while sleeping, while hurting, while laughing. In the crowd or just us. When I feel like He is there and when I feel nothing at all.
When my Martha self is in a hurry, I pray to stay and be.
from Pause with Jesus, pages 135-37, excerpted with permission)
I’m challenged by Chris’ questions based on this text: “What are your distractions? What are you preparing for? Do they really have to be made?” In my signed copy, Chris wrote, “Rest in the moment,” and this reflection expresses his response to Jesus’ words. How do you respond?
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