What's your top priority?

While Martha was busy serving a meal, her sister Mary "sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word." The account continues: "Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me." This complaint drew a rebuke from Jesus. He commended Mary's wisdom for choosing that which was needful and good, and which he said "shall not be taken away from her." He cautioned Martha for being "careful and troubled about many things."

Martha was being kind in extending hospitality to travelers. But Jesus was emphasizing the importance of spiritual pursuits. He was inviting her to examine her priorities, contrasting being troubled about everyday concerns with having sufficient humility and spiritual understanding, which he considered to be essential.

In the Sermon on the Mount (see Matt., chaps. 5—7), Jesus points to the importance of getting our priorities right (see Matt. 6:19—25). He says that we should seek heavenly riches, which cannot be corrupted or stolen. We should choose whom and what we're going to serve—God or material objects. And we should seek the kingdom of God even before daily needs. It isn't enough simply to think about spiritual priorities; they must be carried out in daily life. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 7:21).

September 1, 1997

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