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The Christian's Priority

Luke 10:38-42 September 21, 2003 42-145

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Now we turn to the Word of God in Luke's gospel, chapter 10, and the final paragraph, verses 38 to 42...Luke chapter 10 verses 38 to 42. Herein is a wonderful little story that appears nowhere else in the gospel record and so this is a unique portion that fits wonderfully into the purpose of the great historian Luke as he writes the history of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. It occupies a very important place in the flow of this gospel and even more importantly should occupy a very important place in all of our lives, all of our thinking.

I've entitled this paragraph, Luke 10:38 to 42, "The Christian's Priority...The Christian's Priority." Priority is a very commonly used word in our time. And I think as our society becomes more frenetic, more frantic, more disjointed, disconnected, more mobile, more involved as life speeds up and becomes literally engulfed in so many different things, the word "priority" seems to be constantly on the lips of people who are trying to sort out life and get some kind of pecking order in terms of the things they need to be committed to. We have books on priorities, setting priorities, you can hire people to come in and teach you how to prioritize things. It's really become a very, very popular word because it seems to be a very great need in our complex time.

When we use the word "priority" we just sort of use it on its own. It sort of exists in its own little world. And when we say "priority" we usually mean the important thing, or what is the main thing, or what is most necessary. Well let me dig a little deeper into that word. It is helpful to know something about the word "priority," it is simply a form of the word prior. Now we all know what the word "prior" means, it means before, or ahead of, or preceding. A priority then is something that comes before everything else. It precedes everything else. It's ahead of everything else. It is then what is supreme, what is essential, what is foundational, what is preeminent, what is antecedent to everything that follows. So when you talk about priority, you're really saying what in my life comes before anything else? What is before anything else and everything else?



Now if I were to ask the average guy on the street that question, there might be a lot of different answers. If I ask Christians that question, there should only be one answer, just one answer. Now I don't want you to answer out loud but just think about it. If I were to say to you, "Write down on a piece of paper the number one priority for my life as a Christian, my life in the world, what is it?" What would you write down? What is THE number one priority? Not two, not three, and I know you're probably now sorting through some. You know, church and family and job and loving the Lord and whatever, whatever, witnessing, and...I'm not talking about priorities, I'm talking about priority, one and there is only one.

In the Old Testament David had this perspective. Psalm 27 verse 4 he said, "One thing have I asked of the Lord, one thing shall I seek." In the New Testament in Philippians 3:13 said, "This one thing I do." Now the Old Testament saint, David, had reduced his life to one thing, one single priority and he said it was to behold the beauty of the Lord. And Paul said his one single priority was to know Him and then to be conformed to His likeness. Here in this text we have a statement from the lips of the Lord Himself. Verse 42, "But only a few things are necessary, really only one." Not only did David understand there was only one priority, not only did Paul in the New Testament understand there was only one pursuit, but our Lord here says there is only one. It's not like there are six things the Lord hates, yea seven. It's rather there are a few things that are necessary but really only one. This is so helpful.

I confess to you that I love simplification. I do not like complexity. I'm a simple person. I like things reduced to their simplest and the simpler the better. I am not saying that there are not difficulties in the Christian life, there are not challenges, there are not frustrations, disappointments. I'm not saying that the Christian life is not demanding, that interpreting Scripture is not demanding, that applying Scripture is not demanding, that understanding the full council of God doesn't tax all of my capacity. But what I am saying is behind all of that there is one simple thing that is the Christian's single priority.

Now the good news is there is one. The bad news is if you miss it, you've missed all that follows. Whatever it is that is prior to everything else, whatever it is that is antecedent to everything else, whatever it is that is preliminary to everything else, whatever it is that comes first defines, informs and motivates everything else. If you get it, the rest of the Christian life unfolds. If you miss it, you limp without possibility of adequate blessing and usefulness. One priority, let's find out what it is.

Look at the story, verse 38. "Now as they were traveling along, He entered a certain village and woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. And she had a sister called Mary who moreover was listening to the Lord's word, seated at His feet. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations and she came up to Him and said, 'Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.' But the Lord answered and said to her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things. But only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part which shall not be taken away from her.'"

Now, simple enough story to make a very simple point. The good part, Mary chose it and Martha missed it. Now let me just give you a little insight into our writer, Luke. Why does he drop this story in here? What's going on here?



Well, we are now launching the last six months of Jesus' life. And starting here all the way until the triumphal entry, all the way until He goes into Jerusalem for the last week of His life, Jesus is going to be on the road. He's already been on the road for a number of months, since He ended His ministry in Galilee. He's already been out of Galilee traveling in Judea, Peraea. He'll do more of that. He's been going from town to town and village to village proclaiming who He is. He even sent advance disciples in, the 70, 35 teams of two to get the town and the village ready for His arrival. Sometimes they were received, sometimes they weren't. Sometimes people took them in, believed their message and were wonderfully rescued from the kingdom of darkness and demonic power and sometimes people rejected them. But after sending the 70 and having them get every little town and village where He was going to go ready, it's now the last six months and Jesus is going to visit those places. So we're going to be on the road with Him as verse 38 says, "Now as they were traveling along..." And we're going to be traveling until He finally arrives at Jerusalem to face death on the cross.

Now the nature of this time, this travel time really from chapter 10 verse 38 into the nineteenth chapter, that whole section is primarily going to focus on His teaching ministry. It's a teaching time. Miracles will take a backseat. They are only occasionally mentioned. The emphasis is going to be on the Lord's teaching. And the students through this whole six months are primarily His apostles and disciples. This is their final semester in preparation for taking the gospel to the ends of the earth. This is their final preparation to proclaim the will of God, to ready them to be inspired by the Spirit, some of them to write the New Testament. And what dominates this section is teaching. Luke isn't even interested in where Jesus goes. Here we read in verse 38 He entered a certain village. In chapter 11 verse 1 He was praying in a certain place. And it's going to be like that until chapter 18 verse 35 and we finally get a town mentioned and it's Jericho. Jericho down at the Dead Sea from which Jesus starts up to Jerusalem. Luke is not concerned about where Jesus is. And as I said, miracles are only occasionally discussed. The focus here is on the content of His teaching, not on where. And we're not even sure that this is necessarily in chronological sequence. We can't hold Luke to that. This is not necessarily in the order that Jesus taught all of this. In fact, He crisscrossed in Judea even into the border areas of Galilee into Peraea, moving north and south and east and west all over that area throughout this time. But what is important is that we learn what He taught. This is private instruction from the incarnate God of the universe, nothing like it. It is in many ways the richest time in this whole gospel of Luke. We've already learned what it means to be a disciple, to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him. Now we're going to find out how disciples think and how they think? They think like their Lord thinks and we're going to know how He thinks because we're going to learn from it.



In fact, we're going to take Mary's posture. We're going to start sitting at His feet and we're going to get as close as we can and your job is to going to be like Mary, your job is going to sit and listen to what He says. And my job is going to be to tell you what He said and what He meant by what He said. And He's going to teach us about prayer and He's going to teach us about Satan and more about demons. And He's going to teach us about divine judgment and about hypocrisy and about persecution and about suffering and about the Holy Spirit. He's going to warn us about greed. He's going to instruct us about contentment, about how to use money, how to give, how to be a steward. There are going to be lessons on unity, lessons on righteousness and holiness. There is instruction on divine justice, on humility, on pride, on the cost of loyalty to Christ, on the Kingdom of God and how to enter it. He's going to teach us about how heaven rejoices when sinners are converted. He's even going to teach us about divorce, about hell, about penitence, about forgiveness and a lot about faith. And our Lord's teaching is unequaled, wouldn't you agree? Monumental. And there's only one posture for this and that's to be there at His feet like Mary was. And that's why He drops this incredibly wonderful little story, it's as if the teacher comes into our lives and says, "All right, students, sit down, we're going to begin class." And class went for six months. For us, it could be six years. I heard somebody say that.... But we have to do a lot of recreating of the scene, you understand.

Now the Lord's teaching is radical. The Lord's teaching calls for a departure from Jewish conventional wisdom. It is cogent. It is powerful. It is urgent. It is and is and will be life changing. For us this could be the greatest adventure of our Christian life. It will all sort of culminate when we come into chapter 19 verse 28, Jesus will enter Jerusalem, start the last week of His life which runs to the end of chapter 23 and then chapter 24 is the resurrection. So we're going to be in school with Jesus for the last months of His life. And He prepares us for this with this wonderful little story of Martha and Mary.

I don't need to remind you because you know it. God speaks through His Word. And God spoke through His Son. And when Jesus speaks, it is God speaking and no less. In John 8 verse 26 Jesus said, "I have many things to speak but He who sent Me is true and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak." This is the Word of God through the incarnate Son of God. John 8:28, "When you lift up the Son of Man then you will know that I am He and I do nothing on My own initiative but I speak these things as the Father taught Me." Verse 40, "You're seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God." John 7 verse 16...verse 16 says, "My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me." In the fifteenth chapter of the gospel of John and the fifteenth verse, Jesus says, "No longer do I call you slaves for the slave doesn't know what his master is doing, but I've called you friends for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you." Chapter 17 verse 8, "The words which Thou gavest Me," Jesus says to the Father, "I have given to them and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from Thee and they believe that Thou didst send Me." This and many other times Jesus said, "These aren't My words, they're God's words."

What a privilege this is to hear the absolute truth from the very mouth of God incarnate. I've said this through the years, I continue to believe it more and more all the time, the most important reality in the world is divine truth. The most important reality in the world is divine truth. It's not just important for people who don't know Christ, who don't know God, who don't know Scripture. It is important for those who do. But there are so many Christians who don't understand how important and so many preachers who don't understand how important. It's not just atheists, agnostics, liberals, pragmatists and mystics, or even the indifferent who are the enemies of the truth, who refuse to listen to Him. Martha was not the enemy of Jesus. Martha loved Jesus, believed in Jesus, was a close friend of Jesus. But she didn't get it. She missed the priority. And Martha and Mary were not in any official ministry, but that didn't change the priority because the priority to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear the Word of God belongs not just to people in official ministry, but to every believer. It is to this priority that we are called.



Now I think the priority is leaking into your mind, is it not? The single priority for all Christians is to hear the revealed Word of God because that is prior to every other spiritual duty. which is motivated by, informed by, and defined by Scripture. The story makes it so clear. Number one priority, hear what God has said. Now if that's your responsibility, what is mine? Pretty obvious. To tell you what God has said. Is that not true? Talk about basic and simple, that's it. And how rare is that? How many times every week of my life do I hear from people, "We cannot find a church anywhere in our place where the pastor will tell us what is in the Bible." Unthinkable.

Well let's look at the story. Fascinating. "Now as they were traveling along," in case you want a point of contact, chapter 9 verse 51 tells us that He resolutely set His face to go to Jerusalem. And He's still on His way. Now instead of saying nine months when He left Galilee, it's down to six months. He's headed that direction but crisscrossing back and forth, chapter 17 verse 11 says that He was passing between Samaria and Galilee on the way to Jerusalem, back and forth crisscrossing all around visiting towns and villages. On the road, on the road. In the process of this some time...and we don't know the chronology of this but it fits here because it sets us in the position of students to be ready for all the learning we're going to get in the chapters to follow. "He entered a certain village." We know the name of the village, even though it doesn't tell us. The name of the village was Bethany. How do we know that? Because we find out from John in John 11 and 12 that that's where Mary and Martha lived with their brother Lazarus. And so we know this village, Bethany. Been there many, many times. It's just a little under two miles east of the eastern wall of Jerusalem, just over the top of the Mount of Olives and down the backside. I've walked through Bethany many times. The first time I was there actually an Arab lady tried to give me her baby for a price. We were visiting near the tomb of Lazarus, before, I guess, there were tourists and we wandered by a home and were made that sad offer. Bethany was so near to Jerusalem as just to be a brief walk. And that's where He was indicating again His crisscrossing. This isn't at the end, this is many months before He'll finally go back to Bethany, stay with Mary and Martha, raise Lazarus from the dead, then enter the city when the buzz has hit the whole city that He raised him from the dead. And that is the thing that finally precipitates His crucifixion cause the leaders realize He's completely taken over the people.

That comes later.

This may have been the first visit, may have been the first time they met. But between this time and the last time when Lazarus was raised from the dead, there may have been other visits in between because by the time you get to the account of Lazarus, He knows them very well, very intimate and perhaps had stayed there on a number of occasions. But for now, He comes to this village of Bethany. And it says there in verse 38, "A woman named Martha," and the language here indicates that He probably didn't know her, it doesn't say a friend, it doesn't say Martha, it says a woman named Martha.


Now Jesus didn't always get a welcome when He went into a town, and neither did the 70 and neither did the Twelve, remember? That's why John wanted to call down fire and brimstone on that village in chapter 9, because they didn't accept the apostles and didn't want Jesus in their town. But here He came probably some of the 70 had prepared the way, He came. Maybe they had heard the gospel from the two of the 70 that visited their town and they see Jesus and they welcome Him. And Martha is the hostess.

It says a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. Martha is an Aramaic word meaning mistress. That is rather than the master of the house, the mistress of the house. It suits her since obviously she appears to be the hostess and it is her house. She is likely the oldest because she's usually named first when Martha and Mary are named. And also likely she was a widow since no husband is named. Well she welcomed Him. That's a grand word, dechomaiis to receive, hupodechomai is to embrace and entertain as a guest. They were happy to have Him. They were excited to have Him. They believed in Him.

How do you know that? Verse 40, "Martha says to Him, 'Lord, kurios,'" they had at some point embraced the truth that He was Lord. And here He was coming to their town, they having heard the gospel perhaps from the 70, perhaps they had been some who had been delivered from demons when the 70 went out, we don't know. But she rushed to take the initiative. And here was a receptive house. And you remember the instruction for the 70, when you go into a house and they'll take you there, stay there, remember? Stay there. Her goal was to take Jesus in, serve Him with hospitality. This is only equaled by Abraham and Sarah having God and two angels come for dinner. Here comes God and the apostles and whoever else and she makes extensive preparations, of course.

But she was not alone in the house. Her brother, Lazarus, is not mentioned here, but her sister is. Verse 39, "She had a sister called Mary." Now that's a rather light mention. It doesn't tell us anything about Mary...nothing. She's very, very lightly mentioned and yet she becomes the central figure in the story and she becomes the example for all of us for the rest of our Christian experience. She is the model to follow, this Mary. Why? Because it says this about her, nothing about her physical features, nothing about her temperament or her personality, she has literally had all kinds of fabrications around her. For some people she is the hero of the monastic life, the contemplative life because she's supposed to be the contemplative one, even somebody who is looked to by nuns as their model. We don't know anything about her temperament, we don't know anything about her personality. We don't think of her as some kind of necessarily contemplative person. You can't draw any conclusions about that. All we know about her is that when Jesus came to her house, she was listening to the Lord's words seated at His feet, that's all we know. But that's enough to tell us about her. Listening in the continual sense. When Jesus came He taught, when He came to town He taught, when He came to a house He taught. He was always coming to teach because He came to speak the Word of truth. And she's there listening. And it says, and I think this is so important, "She was listening to the Lord's word." She knew this to be the Lord, her Lord. Martha called Him Lord. They were believers. We just don't know when that happened, or how.



And not only was she listening to the Lord's Word, but doing something that was remarkable for a woman, she was seated at His feet. The rabbis didn't allow that. A woman could learn in the back, or in the woman's section. But to come up and be at His feet, actually parakathezomai, para, alongside, she was as close as she could get, as near as she could be. Her position indicated her intense interest in His teaching. She got as close as she could get not to miss a word. She was literally riveted to the most powerful, clear, truthful teacher who ever spoke. There she is right alongside Jesus, sitting at His feet. That's a term we use today. When you say you go to school, you sit at the feet of a certain scholar, it's borrowed from the ancient world. But women didn't have that privilege. Some rabbis said it's useless to teach a woman. It wasn't, it isn't. She didn't care about conventional wisdom, she was there listening to the Lord's words, the closer the better. And she demonstrates the attitude of a true believer.

Listen to Luke 6:47, "Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them," Jesus goes on to say, "builds his house on a rock." Back up to verse 46, "Why do you call Me Lord, Lord and do not do what I say?" Saying I'm Lord, calling Me Lord isn't enough. It's those who come to Me and listen to Me and act on what I say that are truly Mine. And here was Mary. She said Lord, she listened to the Lord, evidencing her true conversion.

A lot of people, "Lord, Lord, Lord, I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe," but it isn't the priority for them to come and hear the Lord speak, to know His Word. In the eighth chapter of Luke and there are many, many other places, I'm just giving you a few in Luke. In Luke chapter 8 His mother and brothers came to Him and they couldn't find Him because of the crowd, they came to find Jesus. And somebody in the crowd said in verse 20, "Your mother, your brothers are standing outside, they want to see You." He said, "My mother and My brother are these who hear the Word of God and do it."

How can you tell a true believer? They hear the Word of God and they do it. Chapter 11 verse 28, "Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and do it." She had a desire to hear the Word of God. She grasped the amazing opportunity. Here was the Lord and of all places in her little village, of all places her house, in her little room and she was sitting at His feet and hearing the very truth of God from the lips of the Lord of heaven Himself. And her priority was to hear, to listen, to love that truth, to believe that truth, to act on that truth.

I got a letter from somebody this week that said, "I came and heard you preach. It was great, I really enjoyed it. I don't go to church very often, I come to hear you now and then and every time I hear you I like what you say." My response to that is if you don't have a hunger, if you don't understand the privilege of hearing the Word of God, then I think you need to reexamine whether or not He's really your Lord. You don't get it. But Christians who believe can become distracted from the Word.



Let's meet one. Verse 40, here are two words not to be forgotten. "But Martha..." She didn't get it. She didn't get it. "But Martha was distracted with all her preparations." The verb, distracted, to be pulled away, to be dragged away which was like, you know, she was fussing around with the food and she was doing whatever she needed to do to prepare the meal and to get the mat where the Lord was going to sleep and other arrangements for whoever was with Him, and we don't know how many, but enough...just probably more than the Lord Himself and a small number who could stay in the home with them. And she was concerned about having everything arranged the way it needed to be arranged and whatever water they needed and whatever they needed to wash and all of that, and she was pulled away...pulled away, distracted from what? From the priority of listening to the word of the Lord. Forget the bed, forget the arrangements, forget the meal. Not her, she was dragged away literally with her much serving. She was all caught up. She had a desire to listen. I mean, it was so powerful, so winsome, so insightful, so profound, so deep yet so clear, but she was pulled away by the busyness of physical preparation. Nothing wrong with hospitality. It's commanded in the Bible. Romans 12:13, 1 Peter 4:10, it's a command to show kindness to strangers. And there's nothing wrong with a woman being a keeper at home, right? Titus 2:4 and 5, women are supposed to be keepers at home, keep the house. And there's nothing wrong with entertaining guests, 1 Timothy 5:10, a widow couldn't be put on the list unless she lodged strangers and shown hospitality. Those are good. It's good to do those things. Her devotion is commendable.

And, of course, she was doing it for the Lord, the guest of all guests. But in the process she just had her priorities completely twisted. Forget that, you've got God in there speaking divine truth, Martha. She's fussing around all over the place trying to get down what she wants done the way she wants it done and loses sight completely of a rare privilege, to hear the Lord of the universe teach privately and personally she and her sister. Could have learned from His lips. Her sister took the privilege, she got it. Furthermore, it wasn't bad enough that Martha's priorities were messed up, but once your priorities are messed up your attitude does too. So she starts losing the joy of this service. She becomes agitated. She becomes frustrated. And then she gets mad. That is not the right attitude by which to dispense your hospitality. At the apex of her exasperation, she acted in a way that shows how twisted she was, how easy it is to start out doing something good but because you don't understand what is best, even what is good, creates selfishness, frustration, and then you do something that's outrageous cause you can't contain your attitude it comes out.

Look at this. "She came up to Him," I mean just that. "Lord, could You just hold it there for a minute? And I know these are important things. Could You..." She came up to Him. What she should have done, especially when she was frustrated and angry and full of anxiety, irritated, she should have just gone in there and sat down next to Mary and listened. The Lord didn't care about the stuff, He didn't care about the meal. He came to teach the truth. If He ate or didn't eat, it wouldn't matter to Him or the rest. She comes up to Jesus and she says this, "Lord, do You not care?" That's unbelievable. What an indictment. "Do You not care?" I mean, that is one of the most graceless statements ever made by a human being to Jesus. Do you mean the One on whom you cast all your care because He cares for you? Do you not care? That is a sad attack. That is an unthinking indictment. She's out of control, she's over the top. This is what we call, "She's lost it." It's like saying, "Well, are You just going to stand there or sit there, whatever posture Jesus was in, and just keep talking about divine life-changing, soul-transforming, sin-shattering, heavenly blessing producing joy, giving peace, bringing glorious truth and ignore the fact that the table isn't set?"



I mean, she could have come up behind Jesus, you know, and got Mary's attention and gone..... But to come up to Jesus and say what she said? Specifically she says, "Do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone?" I know You know all the secrets of time and eternity, I know You know all that needs to be known about life and death, righteousness and iniquity, and all the glories of heaven, but do You know the bread is burning? And Mary is just sitting there doing nothing?

Now Martha was all caught up in the bread that perishes, wasn't she? She was worried about the bread that feeds the body and Mary was into the bread that feeds the soul. What a skewed view. And finally she says, well it's kind of hidden in there, "I assume You do understand that so tell her to help me." She's gone all the way to commanding God. Tell her to help me. Staggering frankly, to me. This is a very bossy lady. And it all comes because she has a twisted priority. She doesn't get it.

Now before you condemn Martha, what is it that keeps you from being here to hear the Word of God? Can you work this into your schedule every week? What lame non-priority occupies you on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, other times when you could hear the Word of God? Sometimes women stay home to fix the roast. Sometimes there's a stupid soccer game, golf match, repair job, all indicative of fouled-up priorities and being preoccupied with things that are only going to irritate, frustrate and make you mad when you should be sitting at the feet of Jesus hearing His Word. And if that's what you're supposed to do, then I know what I'm supposed to do, and as long as I'm here I'll do my part if you'll do yours. When you look at Martha and you wonder if her priorities are twisted, look at your own life and ask if yours are. I love to hear the teaching of the Word of God. Many of you do as well. But there are some Marthas here as well as a lot of Marys, and you try to work it in as often as you can. And it's an indictment of twisted priorities. You allow yourself to get sucked into all the unnecessary things that only lead to greater frustration. And then you become condemning of those who are doing the right thing trying to justify yourself.

Now, you know, the Lord could have said to her, "Whoa...back off, Martha," like we might. But He didn't. So gracious. Verse 41, "The Lord answered and said to her, 'Martha, Martha...'" There's tenderness in that, isn't there? "Martha, Martha." It's a rebuke but it's a sympathetic rebuke. "Martha, Martha, you are worried," merimnao, to be unduly concerned, "and bothered," thorubazo, to be troubled. You are all messed up, worried, bothered about so many things, but only a few things are necessary, really only one. This is corrective, but it's sympathetic. It was good to do what she did, but not then...not when it was time to hear the Word of God. And He says this amazing statement, "Only a few things are necessary, really only one." You can boil it down...a few things, David said, "I just seek Your face, I just want to see Your beauty." Paul said, "I want to be like You, I want to see Your beauty, I want to be like You, I want to love You." Well all that boils down to one, doesn't it? You have to know Me, and how you going to know Me? You've got to know My mind. How you going to know My mind? Hear My Word.



Our lives are so full of the unnecessary. They control us. They ruin our attitudes. They whack away at our relationships. We get frustrated over stuff that does not matter whether politics, or stuff that you get yourself involved in in your work-a-day world, or your neighborhood. Commit your life to one thing, to see the beauty of the Lord like David. To be made like Christ like Paul, knowing that the path to those things, prior to those things, is to hear Him speak because that's the only way you'll ever know Him, that's the only way He reveals His beauty. And so He says, "Mary's chosen the good part." Actually it calls for a superlative here in the Greek. "Mary has chosen the best part." Literally...what is best because Deuteronomy 8:3 says, "Man shall not live on bread alone but every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God," right? That's our life. That's our prior thing. That's antecedent to every other thing. Nothing is better than hearing the Lord speak, nothing is that important, nothing compares to that. And when that opportunity is there, you grasp it. Mary has chosen the best. And He says, "I will not take it away from her. I'm not sending her into the kitchen." That would be absolutely foolish. Mary was never going to be a preacher. She was never going to be a teacher necessarily. She was never going to be an official in some ministry. But she was going to know more about her Lord and therefore she was going to see the beauty of her Lord and she was going to love her Lord and long to be like her Lord the more she knew from His lips. Nothing is as important as divine truth, it is the priority. And the Lord takes Mary's side, this rare opportunity is too rich and too critical to turn to anything else.

Father, we thank You for this wonderful account, how provocative it is, how instructive it is. We know that later in the story when our Lord came back to Bethany, Martha again affirmed her faith, again affirming Jesus as the Lord of life. And yet those of us who have real faith can become so distracted by what is not necessary. We want to be faithful on the job, faithful to our homes and families. We want to enjoy the world that You've given us. But never ever should those things replace sitting at the feet of Jesus and hearing Him speak so that the priority is clear which then informs everything else in our lives, leads us to see His beauty, His glory, to love Him, obey Him, proclaim Him. This is why Paul said I commend you to God and to the Word of His grace which is able to build you up and give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. It's why Paul said take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day and having done everything to stand. It's why he said let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom. It's why he said to Timothy be constantly nourished on the words of the faith and sound doctrine. It's why Peter said like newborn babes we are to long for the pure milk of the Word that by it we may grow. That's why John said you are strong because the Word of God abides in you and you have overcome the wicked one.

Spiritual strength, hope, assurance, confidence, wisdom, joy, gratitude, nourishment, victory over Satan, error, all those elements of our Christian lives which are important follow the priority of hearing the Word. We thank You that we have the privilege to do that here. May we all be faithful in our Savior's name. Amen.