Sitting At His Feet
|“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.” —Luke 10:41-42
The Narrative Of Mary And Martha
Most Christians who have been saved even a short period of time are familiar with the narrative of Luke 10:38-42. In the text, we find the two sisters of Lazarus and the way each of them attended to Jesus when He visited their home.
Martha was very anxious and concerned regarding the details of the atmosphere surrounding her home. She wanted everything to be perfect for the Lord. As well, she was very attentive to the responsibilities of meeting the Lord’s physical needs, such as food and comfort. These details were dominating her heart and her mind. It is certainly right to do our best for the Lord—to offer service that is worthy of His status.
But Mary, her sister, chose to approach the presence of the Lord in her home in a far different way. While He was there, Mary chose to sit at His feet and devour His every word. She wanted to linger in His presence and receive from Him the information that she would need to successfully traverse through the affairs of life, long after He had departed. Martha wanted to serve Him while Mary chose to experience His presence and to carefully regard each word that passed through His lips. Jesus stated that Mary had chosen the one thing that was both needful and necessary.
Just as Mary did then, now we are called to properly discern when it is time to serve and when it is time to sit. If we find ourselves serving more than sitting, we will eventually find ourselves out of balance and unprepared to face the spiritual war that surrounds us.
During the fall semester of 2017 at JSBC, this passage was preached five different times by five different speakers. Whenever the Lord says something once, it’s important, vital, life-changing, and required to be understood and embraced. But when the Lord brings the same message to our hearts and minds again and again, we should realize that there must be an understanding that is escaping our hearts and minds. So the Lord repeats the same message to give us the opportunity to both learn and apply the word that is being declared. When He says the same thing five times, we better start listening closely.
I’m embarrassed to say that, looking back, that truth is now quite plain to me. I was one of the people whom God was trying to speak to. In fact, sadly enough, I spoke this message to the college chapel as the first message of the school year. How often we hear the Word of God and think, “Man, they really need this,” and we miss the fact that the word was for us as well.
One of the first basic requirements of preaching truth is to have that same truth working in your own life, even as you share it with others. I found out the hard way that when God wants you to adjust something, He will resort to a variety of methods to cause these truths to be both heard and applied by the one to whom He is speaking.
In the course of about 16 months, starting in the fall of 2016, God brought me to a unique place in my life. He allowed a physical malady to affect my being and bring me to my knees. At first I found myself in a state of confusion, not really understanding what was happening. Then, I tried everything I could think of to produce freedom from my physical problems. But I found that the only effective relief came when I ceased from my own efforts, as I would sit helplessly before the Lord, to seek His presence, to seek Him for an answer.
It was to this “secret place” that I would go time and time again, not really seeking an instantaneous miracle, but rather to experience the marvelous, soul-healing, and soothing presence of the living God. Sometimes I would pray, sometimes I would just cry. Other times I would praise Him for His goodness and faithfulness. My children’s music ministry became a staple for me, as well as other anointed music that would encourage my faith. It was here that I would lift my need up to Him.
Even though there was no immediate solution, it seemed that God would reassure me over and over again, that He would meet my need. Refreshed and encouraged, I would rise from this priceless, precious time with the Lord and step forward to face my giants. Sitting at His feet was teaching me how to cast all my care upon Him. It was teaching me how to look to Him alone and His provision. The covenant that Christ cut for me at Calvary became a living reality to me. And even though the trial didn’t end quickly, the comfort and strength that I found in that secret place always provided me with the strength to move forward.
The End Result
After nearly 16 months of living with this physical issue, the physicians that I had been seeing concluded that a surgical procedure was the best chance of freeing me from my dilemma. In January of 2018 I underwent a procedure on my heart that has totally eliminated the problem. Even as I write this, I continue to recover and grow stronger every day. The doctor said I had about an 80 percent chance of living free from the previous problem. But I believe God has helped us, for to this day the procedure has accomplished far more than even the doctors could have hoped for. That’s my God for you!
But the benefits of what I’ve been through are far greater than simply freeing me from a physical affliction. I find that I am softer toward those going through trials. I have a greater empathy for those who suffer physical affection. My voice rings out a little less harshly. Having patience toward others and their issues doesn’t seem to be a difficult thing any longer. I find I have a greater sensitivity as to whatever might hurt or hinder God’s people. And, above all, I’ve learned the necessity of continuously retreating to that secret place, sitting at the feet of Jesus until all my burdens are swept away by His mighty awesome presence. With all your serving, make sure you are finding the time to be sitting—at His feet!