Thursday, December 1, 2016


“And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, 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.” Luke 11:41-42

Dear Congregation,
       I know this was the subject of a brief devotional I gave at the supper church before thanksgiving, but it has not left me alone and I have continued to meditate on it since. Therefore, I want to consider it further for this devotional.
Here we have two sisters who display a very different attitude and focus. The Lord Jesus is in their presence and is a guest in their home. Two responses are demonstrated. Mary desires to be with the Lord, hear His word, and commune with Him. Martha wishes to serve the Lord and do things for Him. What does our natural gut instinct tell us about both of these responses before we read the Lord’s comment on them? I would say naturally we respect Martha more. When we have a guest we often go into a flurry of activity to prepare for and serve that guest. Certainly it is right that we show hospitality. We can praise Martha for her service, diligence, hard work, and outward facing attitude. Mary at first looks like a lazy person who is being selfish. Yet, the lord Jesus instructs differently. In being cumbered about with much serving, Martha had missed the chance to know and bond with her guest. He was the whole point to all her activity and she was missing that point. Martha was looking for recognition, pride was present. Mary gravitated towards and clung to the essential and the necessary, that would never be taken away. Her pride was in her guest.
            I have thought of these two women in terms of individual churches or congregations. There are many Martha like churches around in our area that are full of activity and service. They are fun, they are structured and organized, they are large, and they are constantly serving the community with various “outreaches” and service projects. We naturally look at these churches with respect and some envy. But why do they do this? The Lord Jesus says Martha was troubled about many things, but only one thing is needful. Where is the emphasis on the one thing?  If Grace Community Church is a Mary church than that is a good thing. If all we do is sit at Jesus feet and hear His word and commune with Him, we have chosen the one needful thing. As we know that it is God who gives the increase, and that God’s Holy Spirit draws people to Himself, our choosing the one thing will have positive effect on us as a church and on His kingdom at large. We trust Christ to motivate to service that is needful and trust Christ for the fruit of that service. We do not look for means to brag about ourselves. We do not worry about the many things. I am thankful that we are unique and different in that regard. It may not be what impresses according to the flesh, but Mary gets the commendation. We care about eternal souls, The Word and Sacrament minister to the soul. This is the good part! Ministries and outreaches change, fade, die out, burn out, etc. The Word of the Lord abides forever. This shall never be taken away. Let us embrace it, glory in it, and consider it as primary throughout the year but especially as an anchor through the busy Christmas season. Sit at Jesus’ feet and hear His Word!
In Christ,

Pastor Basile