By Joseph M. May - Pastor, JOY! Fellowship
Mary sits at the feet of Jesus while Martha works tediously to prepare and serve. She has been wiping her brow from the intense heat in the kitchen and the smell of hard work pours out her pores. But Mary sits there at the feet of Jesus as if there is nothing to do. I mean look at her, guests must be served and all she does is sit. Well Martha has had enough and she decides to do something about it, she tells Jesus “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me! (Luke 10:40)” Maratha was making the point that Mary was out of her socially acceptable place. As a woman in the Middle-Eastern culture she was expected to serve the males, however, Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus. Jesus looking at Maratha responds with “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her (Luke 10:41-42).”
Jesus did something remarkable here, He fought a social injustice with the Gospel. Jesus showed Martha that the ground where the cross stood was level. Only men could sit at the feet of a teacher in Middle-Eastern culture because it meant they were students who would one day teach. Women could not do this, but notice how Jesus did not make the social injustice the issue or the important thing because he showed how the Gospel demolishes such injustices. Simply put, social injustice does not and cannot exist in the presence of Christ.
I often am asked my opinions on the social and political climate of the country, not that I am a popular guy or that my opinions matter. But what I say is, “How can a Christian be sexist to their brother or sister in Christ when they are their sister or brother in the Lord? How can Christians be biased or racist towards their brother or sister in Christ when they are their brother or sister in the Lord? How can we shut our ears to their cries and pleas for justice or change when we both bow our knee to Christ and worship His Holy Name? How can I withhold forgiveness from my brother or sister in Christ for acts of racism, sexism or any sin for that matter when Christ has forgiven me? How can I speak ill of those who have a different faith then I? If anything should I not show the love of Christ to them and share the message of hope much like Jesus did with the Samaritan woman or am I that much superior?”
I guess the real question is how can I declare any of these things and call myself a Christian?
That is my response to the cultural climate. I would caution us all by saying we must be very careful not to make our race, sex, political affiliation or patriotism our false Gods. Abolishing racism or sexism, standing or kneeling at a flag, will not save any of us from eternal damnation. Whether we are rallying for them or against them, Jesus is who we are all in need of and must remain our central focus.
We must be mindful that our Facebook post and public comments represent who we are and I would ask if what we are posting about the condition of the country presents the Gospel message or our personal agenda. I think of how often we wound one another or how many relationships have ended because of these things. We speak of reconciliation through the Gospel on Sunday but we allow the least important thing to divide us. We have become Martha instead of all sitting at the feet of Jesus for the most important thing.
I am not saying we do not speak out against social injustice, but please understand that this is not the main thing. The main thing is Christ, but also realize Christ cared for the things we may not consider to be important to us. Political change is not what is needed. What is needed is a heart change within us. We tend to look to politicians, laws and even the top political leader of the country to solve the problem. Consider this: go next door and talk to your neighbor, befriend someone who is not like you, step out of your social norm for the sake of the Gospel, stop letting media outlets and social media determine how you should feel, be ruled by Christ and not your emotions.
Jesus' bold statement to Martha was two-fold. He showed that we are all to be focused on the Gospel and growing with Him. We are not to allow culture norms (whether socially acceptable or not) limit us from growing in the Lord. And we do not stand against those who have the boldness to push past social injustice to show that Jesus is the most important thing.
Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be Accountable