Project 365,  Uncategorized

Mary Chose Wisely – a Closer Look at Resting in Grace

Mary Chose Wisely

I know–I’ve spoken about Mary and Martha a few times in the past year, but if you don’t mind too much, I’d like to go back there again. It’s been nagging on me. For a while.

I wrote a book on the topic of virtue, “The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife.” It’s based on the verse from 2 Peter 1 which reads,

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 1: 5-8

The book leads you through one virtue at a time, offering you applicable and inspiring ways for a wife to grow closer to God and her husband.

And then the comments came in. So many wonderful comments. 99% of them were favorable, but one challenged me to take a closer look at Mary and Martha… “Try harder. Be better. Do more. Is this really a biblical message to send already weary women? …What we REALLY need is – contrary to this book’s approach – empowerment to be more like MARY, who Jesus clearly stated had chosen wisely.” 

The questions I wanted to look at were these, what did Mary choose? How was she empowered? Why was her choice better than her sister Martha’s? And finally… Is living better and trying harder contrary to resting in God’s grace?

Let’s take a look at the scripture from Luke 10:38-42,

“Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But 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. 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.”

Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus. She knew that He was the most important part of her life. She prioritized Him before anything else. She was dedicated to Him.

What it doesn’t mean is that she was a bad housekeeper, a lazy servant, or a bad hostess. If she was simply being lazy, Jesus wouldn’t have said, “She chose wisely.”

Martha on the other hand was the one who invited Jesus into her home. Since we’re told that Mary “also” sat at the feet of Jesus, we can assume Martha did too. The issue wasn’t that she didn’t love Jesus, but that she was troubled about many things. Sometimes we can get so preoccupied with life that we forget how important it is to fellowship with God. He needs to be our first priority. Everything else that we do is an extension of that faith.

This brings me back to Project 365. I urge you to choose wisely. Exercise is good, eating well is great, and breaking bad habits are important, but if we aren’t Christ-centered it’s all in vain.

“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8

The word “little” found in that verse can also be translated as “for a short time.” In other words, it pales in comparison to godliness which will profit us in every area of our life, not only today, but also throughout eternity.

Not to say we shouldn’t focus on exercise or eating well. That should be important to us. My body is not only the temple of the Holy Ghost, it’s a gift that I cherish and hope to take care of. But here’s the thing, first and foremost I must be Christ-centered.

I have to be ready and willing to drop to my knees and sit at His feet.

Being Christ-centered doesn’t mean that we take the easy road. In fact if we examine the early church we see people who strived unto death for the gospel. Our faith is worth fighting for.

Does sitting at the feet of Jesus call us to be lazy? Tell us that we shouldn’t try to live better? Or that striving is contrary to God’s call on our lives? Absolutely not. It means that He’s walking beside us, and that whatever may come, His grace and His strength will carry us through.

Here’s a quote from Matthew Henry’s commentary on Matthew chapter 11:25-30, that reminds us how His burden is light and His yoke is easy… 

They [Christians] must learn of him all things, as to their comfort and obedience. He accepts the willing servant, however imperfect the services. Here we may find rest for our souls, and here only. Nor need we fear his yoke. His commandments are holy, just, and good. It requires self-denial, and exposes us to difficulties, but this is abundantly repaid, even in this world, by inward peace and joy. It is a yoke that is lined with love. So powerful are the assistances he gives us, so suitable the encouragements, and so strong the consolations to be found in the way of duty, that we may truly say, it is a yoke of pleasantness.

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:12-14

You are loved by an almighty God,

Darlene Schacht
The Time-Warp Wife

If you’re looking for more inspiration like this, check out my book, The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife: 18 Powerful Lessons for Personal Growth.

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  • Trivia Sam

    Today’s devotion was a perfect example of “choosing wisely” and experiencing the “yoke of pleasantness”. I awakened today feeling tired and sad and somewhat empty (as our church recently suffered the passing of one our family members), and devotion was not what I “felt like” doing. Thoughts of checking things off my to-do list were overwhelming, along with the emptiness of missing our loved one, so the idea of getting on with the activities of the day felt like an impossibility. All I really wanted to do was stay in bed, sleep, hope for this sadness to dissipate, and worry about the to-do list later. However, the Holy Spirit stegnthened me to get out of bed and spend time at the “feet of Jesus”. He helped me to “choose wisely”. Our God is so amazing! He had a beautiful devotion waiting to encourage and strengthen me. All I had to do was be willing do spend time at His feet. As always, the word of God provided instruction, encouragement and GRACE. Oh, the matchless love of Jesus!

  • Alicia

    I see it that both were servants of Jesus. One woman wanted to sit at his feet, listen and take every word in while the other woman served him by making a meal. Mary chose to focus on Jesus and not be distracted by other things. Martha chose to serve him by preparing a meal to satisfy His hunger. Martha should have focused on her meal and prepared it with all her heart instead of focusing on her sister not helping.
    That’s what we need to do as woman is to focus on our own relationship with Jesus and stop comparing ourselves to other women. We all are in different seasons of our lives. So we need to focus on God where we are at now.

  • Carol/Shamir Tompkins

    YES! Every believer that God is The Messiah and Kinsman – JESUS should spend times at His Nail Scarred feet listening to Him and sharing with Him those times of intimate Betrothed Marriage. These are the times of Shabbes which we have been given by our Lord’s Decree and Commandment to keep, observe and do. These times are the same as which Martha enjoyed and God said “…she chose the Good Part and she shall not be deprived of them”. Unfortunately the majority of The Church are taught to believe that the KOD of Sabbath is not necessary. How silly and foolish a thought – especially in these modern times we live in when the world and even The Church are in a whirling dervish of “working and doing, and performance and social humanitarianism. Now more than ever because “We see The Day approaching” Christians should be gathering together sharing and serving and sacrificing our lives for one another (just as God has so Loved us). We NEED a sabbath in every day. Some set point in our distracting and busy days to just stop, sit down and relax at our Daddy’s feet (and this sounds funny maybe) and join our Bridegroom at our table of betrothal where we share our whole hearts and gain encouragement from The One who is preparing our own home in His Holy Eternal Kingdom. God has Blessed us so let us also Bless His Name and be as reciprocating blessings of His Myriad blessing unto us to The Church first, the nation Israel and the whole wide world that Messiah be Lifted up and all men be drawn to Him!

  • Sarah Coleman

    Hi Darlene,
    I am glad you didn’t dismiss the criticism and took a deeper look at the story of Mary and Martha. Your insight was so helpful. Choosing to prioritise Jesus is a wise choice. And by sitting with Him we are empowered in grace and strength. Mary was not lazy, she had her priorities straight. Thank you, Sarah

  • Judith

    Thank you so much, Darlene. I love the story of Martha and Mary and carefully soaked in everything you shared. I hope you are feeling better. I have prayed for you.