My husband looked at me the other night and said, "Remember when our house was clean?" Yes. Yes I do. In fact, I'd like to take a moment of silence to remember that clean, organized house....
It's not that we've given up on cleaning, it's just that the timeline in which the cleaning comes "undone" has sped up drastically. We are so grateful to have a house filled with children but the cleaning can sometimes feel like a losing battle. We used to request that people remove their shoes at the door but recently I've considered handing out protective footwear...between Legos, meandering train tracks, and doll house furniture it's a basically a disaster waiting to happen.
And don't even get me started about dusting and dishes and laundry and trash cans...they're like toddlers. As soon as you put them down they need you again.
But this article isn't about cleaning...not entirely anyway. This article is about Luke 10:38-42 - the story of Mary and Martha.
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Because I relate more closely with Martha, this story stings a little and is therefore, not my favorite. But personal feelings aside, there are many treasures we can glean from this short account. Today, I would like to focus on the very last line..."Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her." I always assumed this meant that Jesus was unwilling to tell her to leave His presence to go and help Martha serve, but the last time I read this, the Lord allowed me to see that phrase in a new way.
The time we spend with the Lord will not be taken away from us. It is time that doesn't come "undone".
When I dust the house the dust comes back and takes that accomplishment away from me. When I pick up the toys, my children sweep in like a hurricane and undo all of my hard work. The very earth itself is constantly trying to return to dust. We keep polishing and hammering and rebuilding but the fact remains that everything that is of this world is always in the process of falling apart - fading away. Do you see? The time I spend cleaning my home (or working in the yard or gathering groceries etc.) is important work, but it is not work that lasts. In contrast, the time I spend in God's Word and in communion with Him accomplishes a work that I will carry within me forever - even into eternity. God's Word is alive and active - always building and growing - never fading away.
1 Timothy 4:8
for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way,
as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
Now, I'm not suggesting that we should all neglect our homes and families and jobs in order to spend all of our time in God's Word. I am suggesting that we give priority to the work that reaps the greatest harvest. If you'd like to read more about how this plays out in daily life, you can read The Scheduling Change that Made all the Difference.
So as we continue to clean our homes, over and over again, let us not neglect the work the lasts...sitting at His feet. Jesus is the "good portion" and He can never be taken away.
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
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