Teaching What Won’t Be Taken Away

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Some people get so busy that they forget to eat. My scales tell me that I have rarely had that problem. However, I have often been so busy that I didn’t take time to feed my soul.

Jesus had three close friends who lived in the village of Bethany—Lazarus and his sisters, Martha and Mary.

Christ in the home of Mary and Martha by Henry Ossawa Tanner, c. 1910. Courtesy Library of Congress.

I assume that Martha was the older sister since Luke 10:38 says that she welcomed Jesus into her home. The story of what happened during that visit is a popular one among Christian women. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening to Him teach while Martha busied herself with preparations. Frustrated with her sister, Martha asked Jesus if He did not care that her sister had left her to do the serving by herself. Then, she did what seems unthinkable to me, she told Jesus to tell Mary to help her.

Instead, Jesus kindly, and I believe gently, instructed Martha:

“Martha, Martha, you are worried
and distracted by many things;
but only one thing is necessary;
for Mary has chosen the good part,
which shall not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:41

Ray often reminds me of a hard reality: much of life is dealing with loss. That doesn’t mean that Ray has a negative outlook on life. He celebrates life, lives in gratitude for God’s abundance, and has a firm hope in the promise that we will live forever with God.

Still, much of life on earth involves dealing with loss. This makes Jesus’ words to Martha deeply reassuring and comforting. Mary has chosen what will not be taken away from her. Ever.

In a recent sermon, Ray taught from John 11, the chapter about the death of Lazarus and Jesus raising him from the dead. I was struck by the great change for the better in Martha.

When Jesus arrived four days after Lazarus died, Martha and Mary were surrounded by fellow Jews who had come to console them while they mourned the death of their dear brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. Mary stayed in the house.

When Martha met Jesus, she spoke with deep faith. First, she said that if He had been there, her brother would not have died. Then, she said,

“Even now I know that
whatever You ask of God,
God will give You.”
John 11:22

Jesus assured her that her brother would rise again. Martha told Him that she knew that he would rise in the resurrection on the last day. Jesus responded with precious words that have assured believers for centuries. How wonderful that He spoke those words to Martha, who had once been too busy to sit at His feet. Jesus said to Martha:

“I am the resurrection and the life;
the one who believes in Me will live,
even if he dies, 
and everyone who lives and believes in Me
will never die.”
John 11:25-26

Jesus asked her if she believed what He said. Martha replied with almost the same words of faith that Peter spoke in his great confession in Matthew 16. She said:

“Yes, Lord; I have believed
that You are the Christ, the Son of God,
even He who comes into the world.”
John 11:27

Ray and I and our church are grieving a great loss right now. Our precious brother in Christ, John Cason, age 58, passed away on Wednesday. John was a farmer, a bachelor, a former mayor of our county, and a great friend to so many people. In the fall of 2020, John made the same confession as Martha and was baptized into Christ. He was always willing to help out in any way at church. I loved to hear him read Scripture and pray. John Cason went about doing good. He always brought a smile and inner joy with his wit and encouragement. I had no doubt that John Cason cared about me personally, and I was certainly not alone. How we will miss him—and how we look forward to seeing him when we rise again.

Thank you for teaching your children what is most important. As Jesus said:

“For God so loved the world,
that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish,
but have eternal life.”
John 3:16

 

 

 

 

 

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