Recognizing and Choosing “The Better Part”

“Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”  (Luke 10:42)

For many of us, doing comes much more naturally than being. Which means that spending time with the Lord may not come as easily as doing things for Him. This struggle goes way back to Mary and Martha…

Martha is known for being frustrated about not getting any assistance while preparing food for their guests – one of whom was Jesus Himself. And her sister, Mary, was of NO help! She was just sitting at Jesus’ feet, visiting with Him instead of helping Martha.

I imagine Martha, in the middle of kneading a loaf of bread, calling out to the living room “Mary! Could you come and grease a bread pan for me?” Mary doesn’t budge. So Martha complains to Jesus saying He should tell Mary to get up and help her in the kitchen.

 

Jesus’ response “Martha, you are concerned about many things…” had to have frustrated her. I know it would have frustrated me! I would have wanted to say this back to Him: 

“Well YESSSS I’m concerned about many things! Of course I am! I’m trying to get a nice meal fixed here, and, thanks to Mary who’s just sitting out here in the living room with You, I’m doing it all MYSELF!!!”

There’s probably not any way I could have said that respectfully, and hopefully I would have had enough sense to not say it, but knowing me…  

So Jesus continued with His famous words:

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken from her.”  (Luke 10:41-42)

“The better part.”  ::heavy:::sigh::  That is what I want to talk about today, because this “better part” does not come naturally for me.

I do desire to spend time with God, but I’m sad to say that I’d rather DO stuff for Him than just sit at His feet…  and be quiet…  and listen.

One reason is that it’s hard to pull away from all the stuff I want to get done! 

Another reason is that because, when I do just sit with Him, I don’t feel like I “hear” anything or like anything’s happening. It’s just quiet::crickets::  So this just confirms that I’m not as spiritual as I’d like to think I am, or else I’d be hearing something. So I’d better get busy doing something spiritual to quench that uncomfortable feeling or to try to make myself more spiritual.

Or else I just fall asleep.

Mary definitely had an advantage with Jesus’ feet being physically present. She wasn’t just metaphorically “sitting at His feet”; she was literally sitting at His feet. While He was actually talking…  to her… in person… with His actual feet right there – one foot away… or one cubit, or whatever it was.

If Jesus were in my actual living room in person, I would have nooooo problem sitting at His feet. But since He’s not, I need some help and enlightenment… which I got in the form of a Facetime call from our grandson, Weston, age 9…

He Facetimed me at 10am one day. I would never have answered a call that I could be seen in pre-makeup-and-hair-being-done from anyone but a grandpunkin. But I figured he wouldn’t be calling if he didn’t have something important to say. Besides, I knew he wouldn’t care how I looked.

But I did. And it was not good! So I seriously considered blurring the little pictures of me on the screens. (I had NO thoughts whatsoever of these being seen in a blog post!) But I ultimately decided to just be real and keep them as-is.

 

Weston told me about something he wanted me to change on a “Special Memories with Gramma and Grampa” notebook page I have them do here at our house. But, after doing so, rather than hanging up, he just kept talking…  and talking…  telling me about all sorts of things!

After a while, his mom (our daughter Sharnessa) told him he needed to get off the phone and do his tasks, but he wanted to keep me on while he did them – which she let him, and he did! As he unloaded the dishwasher, he continued telling me about the many ideas and plans he felt I needed to know about.

And finishing the dishes, he took me around the house showing me many things, assuming I’d be interested in every little detail!

I loved it and was certainly not going to be the one to go! So an hour and a half later, we were still on! It was so precious for him to be sharing all this with me. And I documented it with screenshots! My purpose in sharing these isn’t to show high-quality pictures – cuz most are blurry. I just want to bring you into my sweet experience…

(In many of them, I look distressed, but I wasn’t; I was just squinting to figure out what he was showing me! – no small feat because this boy has one speed: FAST!)

 

MY SCREENSHOT TOUR

He showed me seeds they’d gotten at an Earth Day Fair, which are encased in “disks that look like spaceships!”

 

…and a page he’d done in his USA notebook…

 

…the sprinkles on his hot cocoa…

 

which, as he later told me: “They just basically disintegrated, Gramma!”

 

He showed me the melted-plastic ornaments he and Chase had made…

 

…and his plans for a 3-layer cake he wanted to make with me on our next Grandma’s Day. He’d drawn a diagram and we discussed how to make it work logistically.

 

…and the orange “plushy” they turned into the Sun for their Solar System in their homeschool room.

 

“And, Gramma! These are supposedly eggs, but they’re actually SOAPS!!!”

 

“And here’s our hotel phone that actually works!”

 

Then onto to their backyard…

 

…and the crawl space opening – which he knew I would love to see!

 

We live in the same town, and I’d been to their home countless times, so I’m very familiar with their house and already knew about almost everything he showed me! But I was delighted to listen to Weston, not because I was getting new information, but because connection happens in the time we spend together! 

 

WHAT GRAMMA LEARNED

As one might guess, the Lord spoke to my heart sweetly, deeply, and profoundly through this!

Weston had shared his ideas with me, his plans, things he had made, items he found amusing, and his beverage. He wanted me to be there while he worked, and told me his thoughts even as they were formulating in his head!

Basically, Weston just wanted to hang out with me!

He wasn’t a bit concerned about how anything sounded. He wasn’t even concerned about having – or not having – anything to say. There were several silences, but they weren’t awkward for Weston! He had no doubt I wanted to stay.

He loved my responses…  and I loved listening to him and responding!

The Lord showed me that, in “all the above,” Weston was choosing, in a very simple but real way, “the better part”!

Better than what? Better than doing things for me… Better than doing his own thing without me. Not that those are wrong! But being with me was just better!

And the Lord showed me that this is exactly how He wants me to be with Him!

He delights in me sharing my thoughts, plans, and ideas with Him.

He wants to hear about things I think are cool or beautiful.

He’s delighted to help me with challenging projects that are totally overwhelming to me. (Which is often!)

He wants to hear about a hope or dream that has “basically disintegrated” and show me what to do next.

He not only has no problem with silence; He knows that good stuff happens in time quietly spent with Him…  like healing, solutions, forgiveness, joy, heart-softening, and the calming of storms.

All of which is exactly why He invites us to…

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalms 46:10)

 

So telling God about things He already sees and knows is neither a waste of time nor an insult. Even though He already sees and knows it all, He still wants us to come and tell Him everything, because connection happens in the time we spend together! 

“I, the LORD, invite you to come and talk it over…” (Isaiah 1:18)

We are not on our own, expected to sort and solve our messes by ourselves. He offers us “the better part,” which is sitting at His feet and pouring out our hearts to Him – our ideas, hurts, plans, frustrations, failures, victories, delights, sins, and even the stuff that makes us angry,

“Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is our refuge.” (Psalms 62:8)

He wants to be our “safe place” for all our heart-outpouring.

Are you in need of a Personal Refuge, One who’s concerned about every little detail that concerns you? I sure am! And this is “the better part” that we have access to 24/7, if we’ll only cease my doing for a while and come to Him!

“My heart has heard You say, ‘Come and talk with Me, oh my people,’ and my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming’!” (Psalms 27:8)

 


 

 


 

[A portion of this article was adapted from my “Commune With Me Guide” article on my Honeycomb Oasis blog.]

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6 Responses to Recognizing and Choosing “The Better Part”

  1. Patricia Green June 9, 2018 at 1:17 pm #

    Thank you for this post. As you reminded me that every thought or deed though simple to me is exciting to the Lord.

    It appears there will now be two in attendance at Quiet Time.

    Blessing,

    Patty

  2. Sue Schwabauer June 10, 2018 at 8:09 am #

    Loved this Barb!! Great reminder to discuss everything with God!!

  3. Margaret Smith June 10, 2018 at 9:10 am #

    Thanks Barb…reading this was a great way to start my morning.❤️

  4. lynne Holloway June 11, 2018 at 4:20 am #

    Reminder to me that talking to the Lord doesn’t always have to be so serious.

  5. Molly Gill Ellis June 13, 2018 at 5:48 am #

    LOVE LOVE LOVE

  6. Rachel Wright June 20, 2018 at 11:12 am #

    I love this it really spoke to my heart as I realize that I am naturally more a Martha than a Mary. I also relate to Weston as my daughter would often sit and chat endlessly about her day and I looked forward to these times. She has moved away from home for university and I miss these precious moments spent together. So I have started to spend similar times with Jesus, just sitting at His feet. I was surprised how difficult I found at first, not being sure what to say but it is getting easier as I draw closer to Him to tell Him about my day. Thank you for sharing such a blessed experience.

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