Wednesday, July 13, 2016

a place of grace Luke 10 38-42

Luke's story about Mary, Martha, and Jesus challenges me in a way that's uncomfortable. The story is short and sweet. Jesus is traveling and he comes to a village. A woman named Martha welcomed him into her home.

Martha got busy. She perceived “obligations” to her guests. She believed she had a duty to serve. She grew frustrated as she worked and her sister Mary sat with Jesus.

Martha wanted Jesus in the middle. She wanted her sister's hands dirty too. But she didn't talk to Mary in private. She aired her frustration trying make a triangle with Jesus in the middle. Martha assumed Jesus would back her up.

And Jesus responded in a way that surprises me. He didn't take Martha's side. “Mary's chosen the better part.”

I can honestly relate to both Martha and to Mary.

At times in life I can grit my teeth with Martha and look at somebody else who isn't working as “hard” as I am. It's easy to get steamed and sit with Martha.

And I can sit with Mary in grace and know that I could never do enough to make everything workout right.

There's a strong desire among believers to be right with God. There's a desire to be super-Christians. And when I grit my teeth with Martha I need to hear Jesus again. “Mary has chosen the better part.” Trust in God isn't proven by the number of good deeds done or prayers prayed. Trust in God is a matter more of the heart than of the hands and the voice.

Jesus' words about Mary choosing the better part just set me on edge. But in these words I hear the promise of the open place. Jesus was there for Mary. She didn't do anything to earn that love. That space Jesus had for Mary that's Grace. In faith I trust that there's a space—a place for me and for every sinner in the world. Grace isn't something I earned or deserved. It's real and it's free and it comes by faith. And it's for me and for every Mary who just sits with Jesus.
grace and peace to you, and thanks for reading, John

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