The food is perfect. Of course. You spent days cooking. You spent a fortune on the ingredients. You used the best recipes. The very best. You took out the china from your great-grandmother – the china you never use. You took your husband’s best suit to the cleaners. You bought a brand new dress. A dinner gown, to be perfectly frank. You manicured your nails. You had your hair done twice. You didn’t like the first cut. Oh, and the house. Sparkling clean is an understatement. You not only hired a cleaning service. You cleaned it all over again four hours later to make sure not a dust mote remained. You have never gone to such lengths for a dinner guest. But it’s well worth it, isn’t it?
|photo courtesy of photographer via morguefile.com|
Because when the doorbell rings, you know your life is about to change. Forever. How many people, after all, get to have Jesus come to dinner? He didn’t say exactly when He is coming, but that’s okay. You still have plenty to do before He arrives. Perfectionist isn’t exactly your middle name, but you can’t argue that you do like to impress people. It does matter to you what people think. Your image is important to you. Okay, maybe you are a bit of a perfectionist. Keeping up with appearances, well, it comes with its rewards. And this isn’t just anyone you want to impress. This is Jesus, for heaven’s sake!
Which is exactly why 15 minutes after He rings the doorbell and makes His grand appearance, you’re ready to take your little sister by the throat and scream into her ear that she needs to get her big fat rear end off the ground and make a bee-line into the kitchen to get started on the serving. Of all the nerve of her to dump the work load on you so she can sit at the feet of Jesus and – what? What?! What?!!!!!!!!! REST?! LISTEN?! LEARN?! FELLOWSHIP?
And to think that instead of ringing her neck you’re now going to have to put on an act for Jesus and pretend – pretend?! Forget about it. You high-tail it off into the other room, your grease-stricken pretty pink apron flying off to one side, your carefully curled hair sky-diving from its glorious perch high atop your shock-blanched face, and your the-wrong-team-scored-a-touchdown scream barely contained as you literally spew – that’s SPEW – the words out to Jesus:
“Tell my sister Mary to get up off her whatever-happened-to-Weight-Watchers tush and get busy with HELPING. She’s supposed to be SERVING, Jesus! You tell her! Kick her. Do something already! Jesus!” you virtually vomit out of your daintily lipsticked plastic surgery-d mouth, ever so careful not to call out the Lord’s name in vain. “Do something!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Now? You’re starting to simmer down, which reminds you that you best soon turn down the heat under your zucchini-squash-etc. masterpiece.
Jesus, who is not quite sure whether to refer to you as Jezebel or the devil seeing how your personality could not be any more split than it currently is, calmly, quietly, peacefully, assuredly, reassuringly, decides now would be the opportune time – as your roasted chicken proceeds to set off the smoke alarm while it burns to far more than a even remotely palatable crisp – to give you one of His little lectures. You can just see it already. You just pray – pray? – it won’t be another 10,000 beatitudes. Or one of those parables that will take you the next half-century to figure out what it might even remotely mean.
Jesus decides to forego giving you a parable, seeing as how you might not have your head on altogether straight – ahem. He just gets right to the point. After all, you still have three pies to check on in the oven that have not yet burned along with the chicken that could most assuredly use a quick resurrection. Or burial, as the case may be.
Leave it to Jesus to ruin your dinner party. To think of it. After you went to all the trouble. And your husband even combed his hair without your needing to remind him.
38 “Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with [q]all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 NASB (underlining added for effect)
On a serious note, a totally serious note, there may be more to this story than you have considered. The most obvious lesson is that there is no more important place to be than at the feet of Jesus, listening, learning, and being in fellowship with Him.
But here is something else to consider. While you run around your life trying to make everything neat and tidy, pretty and clean, impressive and successful on the outside, remember that Jesus sees far more than how clean your house is and the homemade pies that managed to bypass being burned. He sees far more than your resume, your corporate ladder climbing, how well dressed your kids are, and even how often you attend church and open your Bible.
He sees your actions. And He sees your heart. And, in the Bible, the heart includes your thoughts and your feelings.
If Jesus knocks on the door of your heart tonight, what exactly would He see?
25 ““Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full [w]of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.” Matthew 23:25-26 NASB
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