With our radio audience for 17 November 2019, we are continuing a study of “When First Things Come Second.” This is from the first chapter of Haggai. When we read and study from the Minor Prophets, it is like reading the “newspapers” of our own lives. When we consider it carefully, we find ourselves SO MUCH like they were in so many ways. We finish that study on this broadcast and we begin another study from the first chapter of Ecclesiastes. We find in that study that life UNDER THE SUN, though good and pleasant, has no real meaning apart from God. All is vanity when we leave God and the spiritual out of our lives! You can hear this 30-minute lesson by clicking HERE
“That good part,” are words spoken by Jesus to Mary. Throughout the Bible we read about the choices that men and women, boys and girls make. Sometimes these choices are clearly held up to us as examples to follow and at other times it is obvious that we ought not make that given choice in our own lives. Consider an incident recorded in Luke 10:38-42—please read these verses.
Jesus said that Mary had chosen that good part. So then, Jesus is pointing out a choice that is worthy of our consideration to follow in our own lives.
Significance of Mary’s Choice—That Good Part
What joy must Mary have felt! Her action brought about the words of her Lord that indicated His approval of a choice she had made! For a faithful follower of Jesus could there be any greater delight than to know I have made a choice which is well pleasing to my Lord? Can we not see that here is a very significant incident that Luke has recorded for our instruction?
The choice that Mary had made was to sit at Jesus’ feet and hear His word. Now we would think that such a choice would be reckoned by all of Jesus’ disciples as a wise and good choice. However, Mary’s sister, Martha had not so reckoned. Martha, in fact, thought in her own mind that her sister had made a foolish choice. Martha thought that Mary was being neglectful and was in need of rebuke from the Lord.
Instead, Jesus spoke a mild rebuke to Martha for her own misplaced priorities. This brings to the mind of a careful Bible student that there could be many occasions on which Jesus might either question or commend choices we have made with regard to how we use our time. I wonder how often we even consider this matter in our daily lives.
It is not as if Martha had chosen some ungodly pursuit with which to occupy her time. Rather that which she was doing in showing hospitality is a good thing and quite often commended in Scripture (Romans 12:13; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8; 1 Peter 4:9). No, Martha had made a GOOD choice, what is troubling about her choice is that she might have made an even wiser choice–the choice made by her sister, Mary. Mary had made a choice which recognized that the mundane things of this life become utterly insignificant when placed beside an opportunity for spiritual growth and understanding. The Messiah was present! Jesus, the Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 2:8), was in the building! Is there not time to sit and listen to His teaching.
Application of Choosing That Good Part
What is the solution for the problems we face in our world today? How do we cope with all of the unsettling and even upsetting news of the day? Is there a lesson to learn from the visit Jesus made to that Bethany home?
Surely we need to examine our own priorities of life. Surely we need to appreciate that we may be dwelling entirely too much upon those “Martha-things.” These things are good, in and of themselves. However, they may be hampering, even preventing, our spiritual maturity and development into powerful servants of the Lord. After all, we surely want the Lord to use us in a mighty way.
How much time do I spend examining my priorities? Do I ever even consider that there just might be a better use of my time? Have I ever even considered that my Lord might have a commendation for me on Judgment day similar to the one He gave to Mary?
What about the Bible classes? Is there a more direct comparison we could make than to consider this choice we make weekly? What activity could my feeble mind conceive of that would take priority to listening to Jesus at Bible Class time? If I want to choose THAT GOOD PART, where will I find myself at 10:00 on Sunday morning and 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday night? What about the worship assemblies? Gospel meetings? Vacation Bible School? It is shameful that we have differing numbers from the Sunday morning worship assembly count on these other occasions of study. To those of you who do not come but are truly able to be here–are you being like Martha or are you being like Mary? Think ahead for just a moment. On that Judgment day of John 12:48, which person would you have to be your model?
The One Thing Needful: That Good Part
Jesus said to Martha, concerning her sister, Luke 10:42 “But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” We do not appreciate the one thing that is needful to the degree that it ought to be in our day. That one thing that is needful seems to be “pushed off to the back burner” of our lives. That one thing that is needful will make us a great church when we go and do likewise! Mary guides us in the right and good direction as she made the selection of THAT GOOD PART.