“God, the Spouse of my soul, God, who makes my soul fruitful for eternal life — Him alone will I love and nothing other than Him.” -St. Augustine
The moment she’d waited for all day long was nearly here. She had helped her sister prepare everything so it would be perfect, but nothing was ever quite good enough for her sister.
She heard all the commotion at the door. “He’s here!” she squealed. She grabbed her sister’s hand, urging her to come along, but she was shooed away. She shrugged her shoulders and ran to him, not caring if she looked foolish.
When everything had quieted down, he sat in her favorite chair and started talking. His words always pierced her heart unlike anything she had ever experienced before. When his eyes met hers, she felt seen and known. Occasionally he would place his hand on her shoulder, and she knew with every fiber in her being that she was cherished. Just sitting there with him reminded her that she had purpose, value, and an important mission in life. She wanted everyone to know this too.
She glanced at the kitchen, wishing her sister was out here to experience this with her. She knew the dishes and cleaning could wait just a moment longer, because there was nothing better than sitting with Jesus.
This is definitely a fabricated story of Mary and Martha (read Luke 10), but I love to imagine what was happening behind the scenes. I think Mary got something so profound, something that we easily miss as Christians. She embraced the concept of abiding in Christ and Jesus even pointed that out when He told her sister, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)
Abiding in Christ
The concept of abiding in Christ has been preached many different ways because it encompasses many things.
Jesus talks about what it means to abide in John 15. You should read the whole chapter because it’s packed full of treasure. The summed up version is that He is the vine and we are the branches. Abiding in Him allows us to bear fruit. Not abiding in Him leaves us shriveled up. One of my favorite parts in this chapter is, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love” (John 15:9 ESV).
Mary lived a life of abiding. Think of the word abide encompassing all of these things: await, remain, sojourn, dwell, rest, continue, endure, encamp. There is a place in all of us that only Jesus can fill.
Only because of the pierced, resurrected heart of Jesus can the real, true, unconfined love of the Father fall on us. Only by abiding in Jesus will we recognize that love and truly be invigorated by it.
It’s here that we understand the true bridal love for our Bridegroom.
We are great at being Martha.
Side note: I feel like people bash her too much. She really thought she was doing the right thing by working and preparing for Jesus.
Yes, we do need to do Kingdom work, but what fuels that work is abiding in Christ. We ebb and flow out of that connection, walking in obedience, instead of trying and pushing on our own. Our servanthood is possible because we are, first and foremost, lovers.
Atmosphere of Love
When we live in the atmosphere of His love, we grasp Kingdom values and principles. We switch from servants (Martha) to friends (Mary). Just like Jesus told His disciples in the same passage about being the vine, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:14-15).
Let’s choose to abide in the love of the Father! There is no formula or recipe to grasp this. It can’t be taught or copied from anyone else. You have to want it for yourself. You have to lay down what you want, cease all of the busyness and obey Him at His Word. You have to give Him your time and sit right at His feet, not expecting anything but Him. That’s where you learn that He is trustworthy. That’s where you experience the love that is unexplainable. That’s where you learn what abide means for you.
Rest in Him. Wait in Him. Remain in Him. Sojourn in Him. Dwell in Him. Rest in Him. Continue in Him. Endure in Him. Encamp in Him. ABIDE in Him.
It’s a daily choice, folks. Martha chose to prepare Him a feast, but Mary chose to feast upon Him.
What will you choose?