“. . Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.” The Master said, “Martha, my dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it –it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.” Luke 10:38-42 (Eugene Peterson, The Message, 2002)
It’s interesting how much you can witness to your faith in conversation with people who are genuinely curious. I remember one such conversation at one of my son’s baseball games. During the warm-up time before the game this young man and I were deep in conversation about being “born-again”. He’d asked if I believed in the “born-again” experience some of his friends had. I explained that I did believe it was a valid, powerful expression of a person’s faith to have this “born- again”, “born from above”, life-turning experience. He then went on to tell me of some of these, one of his friends, who’d been ‘born-again’ and had such a radical experience –but with little to show for it. Some of these went right back to the lifestyle they had confessed as sin the week before. Others, he told me, keep going from church to church to get these experiences, what I told him could be compared to a, ‘religious high’.
I remember another conversation, this one at a Bible Study where we were discussing intently the difference in calling Jesus ‘Savior’ and ‘Lord’. I believe the difference is critical enough in our lives as believers to mention it here, because it’s got everything to do with the above conversation I had with that man at baseball. Becoming ‘born-again’ is an absolutely wonderful experience and in the Bible we see people who upon confessing Jesus and being baptized begin praising God with a loud voice and song. It is a “high”, and/or highly emotional experience to have your burdens removed, to become unshackled from all your guilt and sin and to give your life to your Savior Jesus Christ, to let him into your heart and life. There is a definitive physiological response that takes place in the brain and body; but there has to be more.
Jesus wants to go beyond being our Savior and wants to be our Lord. This is the “nitty-gritty” of discipleship –giving Jesus, giving God control of our heart and life. Our salvation in Jesus Christ in what Jesus did on the cross for you and for the world was only the first step on a lifelong journey with God –and it’s not always an exciting, glamorous or mountaintop experience. Sometimes it comes to deciding what to give back to God in the collection plate or in sharing our talents. Sometimes it’s as intimate as finding an ‘alone place’ to be in prayer with our God who hears and speaks to us. Sometimes it’s as revealing as realizing when we’re getting angry at someone to the point of despising them and knowing through the Holy Spirit that it’s wrong to feel that way. It’s not all “Hallelujah’s!” and, “Praise the Lord’s!” It’s living the way God wants us to live as God’s children. It’s being willing to listen and learn at the feet of Jesus like Martha.
“Be still, and know that I am God.
” Psalm 46:10
Go and Live In the Love and Grace of God,