The Better Part

Here’s a new song for y’all:


Here are the lyrics.

Here is the backstory:

Luke 10:38-42

38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. 40 But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42 there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Martha and Mary.  Mary and Martha.

If you’ve ever read this passage or heard a sermon preached on it, then you probably feel like you know these women.  Maybe you even identify with one of them.  Or both of them.  I can certainly say I have, at times, identified with them both.

Sometimes we get really busy with the “work” of Christianity and we totally identify with Martha.  We spend our time doing the “stuff” that needs to get done so that others can sit at Jesus’ feet.  We prepare the food, do the clean up, sing the songs, pay the bills, scrub the toilets, wipe the noses.  And we tell ourselves that it’s ok because we are serving others.  We’re getting down on our hands and knees and metaphorically washing their feet.

This is ok.  Martha wasn’t any less of a follower of Jesus.  She was trying to do the right thing here.  She was trying to serve.  Serving isn’t bad.  It’s good.

But there is something that is better.  And in this particular passage Mary had chosen the better part.  To sit at Jesus’ feet.

Were there actual, real physical things that had to take place in order for everyone to eat?  Yes.  If everyone sat at Jesus’ feet and listened would those things still get done?  Yes.

Wait, what?!?

Imagine, if you will, a world where everyone sits and listens to Jesus and then when He is done speaking, EVERYONE gets up and helps prepare dinner.

I know, I’m blowing your mind right now.

The problem is laziness.  The other people sitting and listening to Jesus don’t want to prepare dinner so Martha sacrifices her own needs in order to get it done.  Don’t you think she wanted to just sit and listen to Jesus speak too?

One thing I know for sure: I have to be careful to get the order of service correct in my own life.  Be Mary and THEN Martha.  Make sure I choose the better part of sitting and listening to Jesus FIRST, then I can go about doing the “work”.

Marthas of Christianity, hear my plea, put the dishes down for a while.  Go sit and listen to Jesus and realize that if the work doesn’t get done IT WILL BE OK.  That’s the hardest part.  The realization that it will be ok.

Jesus told us not to worry about this stuff in Matthew 6.  Here’s what it says:

Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink,or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Fellow Marthas, we need to stop worrying so much.  We need to trust God even in the little things.  Let’s choose the better part.

The Better Part lyrics

Yeastie Beasties and Love Babies! Skadoosh!

Jesus said to them, “Watch out, and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
– Matthew 16:6

I think there are probably a lot of unhealthy teachings out there that would pass for the yeast of the P’s and S’s. Not too long before Jesus gave this warning to the disciples he said this to the Pharisees and scribes:

You hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied rightly about you when he said: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.'”
– Matthew 15:7-9

queen-elizabeth-horrified-2Are we teaching our human precepts as doctrine?!?!? I’m horrified *whisper voice* because I think we are.

I’m not gonna really go into what I think these “human-precepts-come-doctrines” are because that would just be me turning my ideas into doctrine and the vicious cycle would continue.

But Jesus said something else to the P’s and S’s, said it more than once even, that I feel is a pretty good gauge for measuring our “awesome” doctrines against.

Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”
– Matthew 9:13

But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.
– Matthew 12:7

Everyone knows what Matthew 22:36-40 says… (but just in case you don’t or you forgot, here it is)

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
– Matthew 22:36-40

So it’s pretty obvious that love is really important to God. It’s kind of the point, I guess. So, maybe, remembering that God desires for us to show one another mercy even more than he desires a sacrifice, is important too.

Love and mercy should be our yardstick. We’re supposed to love one another.

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
– John 13:34-35

And if we need a refresher course on what love is (in case we start thinking that our horrid behavior is actually just ‘tough love’), it’s right here in 1 Corinthians 13:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Here’s a little ditty I wrote that I like to call “The Love Chapter“.


You can find it here too: Kachow!

20140806-131456-47696018.jpgMy daughters and I memorized those verses together and we say them every night as a prayer at bedtime.  And when they are fighting I totally hold those verses over them.  (Cause that’s what you’re supposed to do, right? Lol.)  Really, I just remind them what the verses say and ask them if they were being very loving towards their sister or their friends.  Guess what?  It works every time.

I think we all need a DAILY reminder of what love is and that God desires mercy from us.  So let’s be merciful.  Let’s measure our awesome doctrines against love and mercy and see if they measure up.  If they don’t, they might just be yeastie beasties and not love babies.