Newton Cowan, Transitional Director of Pastoral Care

Just yesterday, God’s Word hit me between the eyes.

Some of you all have heard me say, that we need to be careful when we say a particular text is a familiar one, before we read it, because our mind can go to the end without hearing it fresh each time.

In worship yesterday Jill read the story of Mary and Martha. If you were not present in person or online, I recommend listening online. I will get to the text in a moment, but first some background.

When I was finishing my ministry at Jamestown Presbyterian, a couple gave me a statue to sit on my desk.  The statue is of a man sitting on a bench with a suit on and the tie lowered.  He is leaning on the back of the bench looking to the left.  On the right sits a statue of Jesus, who is leaning on the back of the bench looking to his right at the man.  They appear to be in conversation.

For so long the church taught about God up there and we His people down here.  I have often lived into this.  What about you?  I do believe in a personal relationship with my Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus, but have struggled with Jesus, sitting on a bench with me?  Me Jesus?

I think if I am honest, I am the one who has created a separation from Jesus being on the bench, He has sat there waiting for me. What kept me from the bench?  Back to our text for yesterday,

Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at Jesus’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her, then, to help me.”  But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things, but few things are needed — indeed only one. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

All the while, for too long in my ministry in various settings, I was caught up in the details, the little things, all in the name of ministry, of serving God.  Of running around finding this and that thing that needed to be changes or how we can do better.  I now envision myself “running” past the bench where Jesus was waiting patiently for me.  I was too busy to stop, after all whatever I was hurrying to had to be done, right then?

In the life of the church, we can get so caught up in the details, folks wanting to point out this and that, and we walk right by the bench.

I am working on my spiritual life.  I am working on not getting so caught up in the little things that I walk right past Jesus.  I am humbled that Jesus would take the time to wait for me, to want to talk to me.

What about you in your life?  Too busy doing the things of ministry and missing what it is all about.  Perhaps too busy in your everyday life to stop and sit and look to your left and experience Jesus waiting for you.

We have a choice each day.  To walk or run past the bench or to stop and sit in the presence of the Lord.  If we can commit to do this every day, I believe our lives will be better and we will focus, once again on what matters most.  To be in the presence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.