“And Jesus answered and said to her, 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
There has been a rash of thefts in our community. Homes have been broken into and cars stolen. My in-law’s home of nearly 50 years burned down about 6 weeks ago. Things are easily lost whether to thieves, fire, tornados, hurricanes, or floods. Those possessions we may choose to hold as most important in our lives can disappear faster than our money in Los Vegas!
The choices we make have an impact on the lives of others whether we mean them to or not. Those choices don’t just have an effect on our lives alone, there are reverberations that can last months, years, decades, centuries, or even millennia. The ongoing disputes and wars in the Middle East are a perfect example. Two people groups claim the same origins, the same father ancestor. Yet each day they seek to eradicate each other, all because of choices made before any of them existed.
What is chosen to be of value, those things we decide to cling to in a crisis, are often the things most easily replaced if lost. Yet relationships are destroyed every day when the choice made is not “that good part which will not be taken away…” Believe me, it is extremely difficult to cope with the loss of our possessions. Especially those that can never be replaced, pictures, keepsakes, special memories found in the little box one kept safely tucked away.
Too often we sacrifice the good things for those that are so easily lost and destroyed. Our relationships suffer when we make them secondary to anything. No matter what or how you believe, far too often those we love become expendable when it comes to our choices as to what is “that good part”.
Earlier this week I experienced making my own personal choice to melt down over the issue of things vs. relationships as it involves our current circumstances. It wasn’t so much that things were that important. My meltdown originated over feelings, feeling like this challenge is one more example of my family of origin having had some kind of curse laid upon us. At the moment of my meltdown, the images before my mind were of all the times my family crashed and burned when I was growing up. Honestly, that was playing in my mind and it still chases me down occasionally, but the other night was one of those dark nights of the soul!
I survived my meltdown because there is one recurring theme running throughout the Bible; it’s the same theme you can find in the life and words of Jesus. That one thread which makes the tapestry of the Bible what it is for me and many others is Love. Not love as it is portrayed in popular media, contemporary books of almost any age, in poetry with lofty words, nor in the hormones that run rampant throughout our bodies. It is love reaching down through the ages to rescue this man when he needed it most, when I needed to be reminded that God has never abandoned me, my childhood family, or my family of today.
It is the love spoken of in the words “that good part, which will not be taken away”. It is the good part and no matter how much it may appear to be gutted and left for a circling swoop of lazy, misguided vultures, this is love that cannot be eradicated! It will continue to make a difference in the lives of people as “that good part, which will not be taken away”. This love is the good part which I believed in even in the midst of my meltdown, my dark night of the soul. I know it can’t be and will not be taken away, ever, no matter what I may be feeling, even it that feeling is fear.
Fear can be as destructive in our choices as are things. Fear of what we don’t understand, or who we don’t understand. The fear we wrap around ourselves like some form of insulation. Another destructive choice is busyness, the workaholic syndrome that builds a wall of separation we think protects us from loss.
But nothing can protect us from loss except choosing the good thing that cannot be destroyed. Because I believe the love God offers, as it is defined in 1 Corinthians 13, is indestructible. It is the love He offers to live through us. So why do we, as believers, so often take this love and gut it like a fish we just we caught or like the Bible Anne Voskamp describes in the quote referred to earlier in this post?
As disciples of Jesus, we too often take His words and use them to self-destruct as we attack those we have been commanded to love.This command comes from the One whose name we claim as our own! Stop to consider what He might choose when you face someone who is challenging your choice of “that good thing”. Without thought we deprive God’s words of the very power meant to ignite in our relationships.
We will loose those we love to death on this planet. (It is often said the only sure things are death and taxes!) Yet through the love of God, ”that good part which can never be taken” from us, we can choose to know that love is eternal. It is as sure as death and taxes. Actually its surety goes beyond anything we have yet to experience.
Our choices are powerful, more powerful than most of us have realized. It is essential that we, as Christians, understand this reality. Because by our choices those who are not believers make their choices about the One whose name we claim as our own! Like Martha in the verse for this post, we become troubled and worried about those things over which we have absolutely no control! Just like I did in my meltdown. I allowed circumstances to blind me to the present, throwing me into a future that doesn’t even exist!
As many have written before me and as Jesus has told us, we can only live in the present moment. It is all we have; it is our only reality. Those things which cause me to be troubled and worried are the very things Jesus told Martha (and me) to let go, to choose that which cannot be taken.
Love and relationships are still the most powerful choices you and I can make. They are also the ones most often ignored and replaced with self-destructive choices which have long term effects. These choices will influence what happens to those who come after us, especially those we say we love the most!
Choices made today will influence more than we realize. Choices made today can even have eternal effects. I guess it comes down to this, what will determine how you and I make choices in our lives? Will we consider their impact on the present and their repercussions beyond the here and now? Do we now understand the power there is in the choices made every moment, including by those who see the Bible as nothing more than a gutted piece of literature as well as by those who have gutted it for their own purposes, using it as a weapon?
The choices we make are more powerful than we realize. The power of choice is a force each of us has to reckon with. Who and what will you and I choose to influence our decisions?
“If you have no desire to worship the Lord, choose today whom you will worship, whether it be the gods whom your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. But I and my family will worship the Lord!” Joshua 24:14 NET Bible
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