May 9

n repentance and rest you shall be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength, Isaiah 30:15 

Jesus answered 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 NKJV 

This is a familiar story about Martha and Mary. Martha is not really doing anything wrong, after all hospitality is important, and people needed to be fed. Meanwhile she sees Mary as just sitting there doing nothing when there is all this work to be done. Martha is rightly concerned with her hostess duties but perhaps she is focusing solely on them.  “Worldly business is a snare to us, when it hinders us from serving God, and getting good to our souls. What needless time is wasted, and expense often laid out, even in entertaining professors of the gospel! Though Martha was on this occasion faulty, yet she was a true believer, and in her general conduct did not neglect the one thing needful.” (Matthew Henry commentary). The commentary continues about Mary, and those focused on listening: “Sitting at Christ’s feet, signifies readiness to receive his word, and submission to the guidance of it.” 

The people Isaiah is addressing are having a little trouble with this idea of repentance and resting in the Lord; of quietly listening and trusting to get the strength to overcome their fears and their enemies. Chapter 30 has a title over it “Woe to the Obstinate Nation.” Rather than quietly and faithfully putting their trust in the Lord, they are unwilling to listen or even to accept that they could have rest and salvation by just following God’s plan. They have actually rejected the messages they have received from the prophets and are following their own plans. We all know how that works out – not so well. 

Just like them we often are busily worried about our own worldly duties, and fears and anxieties. A recent poll from the APA (American Psychiatric Association) published Tuesday says that anxiety among Americans is very high. The main reasons to be anxious are health, financial and safety concerns. How often do we stop our focus on these concerns, and return our focus to our Lord who told us to ask Him in prayer and it will be given to us. He has a plan for our lives; we don’t need to go inventing our own even though we may have a little trouble following His. Just like Mary, and those Israelites who paid attention, we need to focus on the message and listen to God’s word for our lives. 

O Jesus, you are our rest and salvation. When we are troubled, you are the one we need. Forgive us when we allow the chaos of life to distract us from your plan for our lives.  We venture out each day, worried by the world’s demands. Lead us back to you, O Lord, our shelter and refuge. Grant us wisdom that we may understand that you are the one thing necessary. Then we will have peace, a peace that transcends all understanding. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen 

Chris Gabel