DURING Christ Jesus' visit, Luke's Gospel tells us, Martha was busy seeing to his comfort while her sister, Mary, was sitting and listening to Jesus. When Martha complained to him, however, his response probably wasn't what she expected. "Martha, Martha, Jesus said gently, "thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Those listening to Jesus' teachings heard surely the most powerful, most loving words they'd ever heard. And the God-sent spirit of love and truth that Jesus showed so clearly is with us today. It still speaks to us of the truths of God's presence, His power and love. When we listen to Christ's message, we can all hear "that good part.
But don't we sometimes feel, like Martha, that there is so much to do! Today travel is quick, workloads are heavy, and home responsibilities may seem unending. Are we letting these things crowd out "that good part from our affections?
We will never know exactly what Mary heard Jesus say that held her attention. But if we are to understand the treasures Christ Jesus spoke of throughout his life, we have to understand more of their source. This means looking closely at God. God doesn't create such a marvelous work as man, and then toss him out to sink or swim on his own. Man as made by God is spiritual, free, and full of joy. To God, man is always the child of His care and love. This love is always with man because God is infinit e
Love. God constantly floods us with His love. But we do need to respond to His love. "Man walks in the direction towards which he looks, says Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "and where his treasure is, there will his heart be also. If our hopes and affections are spiritual, they come from above, not from beneath, and they bear as of old the fruits of the Spirit.
Does making Christ Jesus' good part our own treasure mean we neglect our ordinary duties and responsibilities? Certainly not! When we put our desire for spiritual understanding first in our lives and our hearts, we find that it becomes even more important to meet our obligations. And we are able to meet them more completely, perhaps, than we ever have. We find that we really can do more, not less.
Personal concerns and the details of daily duties often seem to be our most urgent business. But the truth is that hearing and treasuring what God is saying to us each day is always more important. Jesus warns of letting "the care of this world choke the word. Happiness and achievement in a life like this are often sought vainly in personal and selfish ways. Just the opposite is true about life lived from the standpoint of God's word. It starts with God and flows outward, embracing all.
In a small but very meaningful way, I've experienced the effects of this more spiritual attitude in my own family. Like most parents, I love and treasure my children and their daily adventures. But there have been days when I felt so buried in the details of household and professional tasks that I'd become irritated when one of them would want to show me something or tell me about something.
That didn't make either of us happy, and I began to pray to see how to do a better job of expressing the love I have for my children. Now, when I'm tempted to brush them off because I'm "too busy, I find myself hearing Jesus' words, "Martha, Martha . . . . And I'm reminded to see what God is expressing and to persist in choosing the "good part throughout the day.