Mary has chosen what is better.
Some people come to church. They arrive. They say hello. They sit in their pews. When church is over, they get up, they say their good byes, they leave. They don’t stay to socialize very much. You never see them again until next Sunday. They aren’t there when work is needing to be done around the church. They don’t volunteer to help with the youth activities. They aren’t at the ladies’ meetings. They’ve never attended any kind of rally or friendship night. They didn’t attend the last church picnic. They don’t show up at spring cleaning time, nor do they help mow the lawn during the summer.
Don’t they care? Who’s going to work with the kids when it’s time for a Christmas play? Who’s going to take the youth on field trips? Who’s going to come early and set up for potlucks? Who’s going to stay late and clean up afterward? Who’s going to keep the lawn looking decent? Perhaps they’re just not as serious about their faith as others. Maybe the Church doesn’t mean as much to them as it does to others. Maybe they’re not aware of how much work others had to do to keep the building running so that they could come sit in a clean, air conditioned church for an hour each Sunday. Maybe they just don’t care? What can we say to these people to help them become more active? To participate and contribute more to our congregation?
“Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
What is the job of the Church? When Jesus established the Church he said “After you have left here, make disciples of all nations, by baptizing and teaching all that I have commanded you.” He told his sent ones—his ministers—that “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
You see, the people who come each week to hear God’s Word have already chosen the better thing. The very reason the Christian Church exists is to forgive sins. That is our business. We come to church each week to be convicted in our old Adam, and to be raised again a New Man. That life-giving Word flows to us when we sit here and do nothing but listen to it. It flows to us when we do nothing but hold out our hands for the body and blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper. We are raised to life again as we sing the words of Scripture in our hymns and liturgy.
What then? Should there be no auxiliary organizations? Should we quit with the building upkeep and youth activities? Not necessarily. But consider first that we are all one body. Each person is gifted with his own talents and vocations in life—or callings. In the body of Christ not everyone is an eye. Nor is everyone a leg. To expect someone to be an eye just because you are an eye is not helpful. The first duty of a Christian when he has left this building is to tend to his first vocation—his family. Then he tends to his job, that which he uses to support his family. After that he may come back to this building and participate in other things as he has time.
We give thanks for those who have the gifts and desire to be the eyes or the ears which come and make things happen for the congregation. We also give thanks for those legs and hands which are busy in their own God-given vocations outside this building.
ALL of you here today have chosen the better thing. Give thanks to God for that!
Jesus always chose the better thing. He kept on choosing the better things right up until he chose to go to the cross for you. He chose to save you and me, and he chooses to be here with us in a special way this morning. He chooses to give us forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. Deo gratias! Thanks be to God!