From Our Hearts to Yours
Perhaps as a child, you heard your teacher at school say,
Good, better, best,
never let it rest,
until your good is better,
and your better is best.
God has promised us that His ways are the best path for us. And, in choosing God and His ways our devotion to Him will deepen. Well, I try to apply this in very practical ways to my own decision-making and choices. Here’s just one way that doing so has helped me develop a deeper devotion to God.
While living in Los Angeles I spent a lot of time in the car in traffic. There in the car — all alone — I had options about what I could think and do. For years I drove around with an easy-listening music station on the radio. That was a fairly good choice. However, after some thought, I decided a better choice for me would be to listen to classical music (a passion of mine). After thinking about my choice a little more, I decided an even better choice would be playing a CD of uplifting Christian music. Then I moved up the “better” scale again as I chose to listen to sermon CDs instead — recordings of a man of God teaching the Word of God to the people of God. Next, playing CDs of the Bible seemed even better. Then one day I turned the whole audio system off and landed on what for me was the best choice for my car time — memorizing Scripture. Good to better to best!
When I was a new Christian, I heard a more spiritually mature woman at church tell about a choice she made each day as soon as her husband left for work. She said she could do almost anything she wanted — turn on the TV and watch a soap opera or talk show, read the Los Angeles Times, or — her choice — pick up her Bible and have her quiet time. Here was a woman — a woman after God’s own heart — paying close attention to what was good, better, and best, and striving to make the best choices.
Carole Mayhall of the Christian discipleship organization, The Navigators, once said “Daily I live with [one] fear — a healthy fear — that I will miss something God has for me in this life. And it is mind-expanding to contemplate all that He wants me to have. I don’t want to be robbed of even one of God’s riches by not taking time to let Him invade my life. By not listening to what He is telling me. By allowing the routine, pressing matters of my minutes to bankrupt me of time for the most exciting, most fulfilling relationship in life.”
I also do not want to miss out on God’s best due to merely choosing what is mediocre or just okay. At each moment of decision in your day, ask God to help you choose beyond the better choice to what is BEST!
Luke 10:42 — “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.'”
Today, let’s take a closer look at someone who sat at Jesus’ feet and received His praise. Can you imagine that — receiving God’s praise! The attitude of Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, demonstrated for us the meaning of a heart devoted to God. What did Mary do that moved our Savior to praise her?
Mary discerned the one thing needed — The events leading up to Jesus’ words set the scene for us to look into Mary’s heart (Luke 10:38-42). Jesus (probably accompanied by His disciples) arrived at the home of Mary’s sister, Martha, for a meal. I’m sure it was a joyous and festive time. Imagine, God in flesh coming for dinner! He was total love, total care, total concern, and total wisdom. It would be heaven on earth to be in His presence — the presence of God.
But Martha, Mary’s sister, didn’t discern the miracle of God in the flesh. Consequently, she marred His visit by her behavior. She crossed over the line of graciously providing food and became overly involved in her hostessing. When Jesus opened His mouth to impart words of life — the Word of God spoken by God Himself — and Mary slipped out of the kitchen to sit quietly at His feet, Martha broke. She interrupted the Teacher, her guest, to say something to this effect — “Don’t you care that I’m putting this meal together all by myself? Tell Mary to help me!” Martha failed to discern the priority and importance of time with God.
Mary, a woman after God’s own heart, made the choice that indicated her heart’s devotion: She knew it was important to cease her busyness, stop all activity, and set aside secondary things in order to focus wholly on the Lord. Unlike her sister, who was so busy doing things for the Lord that she failed to spend time with Him, Mary put worship at the top of her to-do list.
Mary chose the one thing needed — Because Mary was a woman after God’s own heart, she was preoccupied with one thing at all times — Him! Yes, she too served. And she too tried to fulfill her God-given responsibilities. But there was one choice that Mary made that day in Bethany, a decision to do the one thing that mattered most: Mary chose to spend time worshiping God. She knew that nothing can take the place of time in God’s presence. Indeed, time spent sitting at His feet fuels and focuses all acts of service.
Today, let’s not allow the demands on our lives, the busyness of our choices, or the significance of our service steal the “one thing” that will bring us closer to Christ. Time spent hearing from and worshiping God can never be taken away, for it is time spent in eternal pursuits, time that earns permanent and everlasting dividends. Mary chose to spend that precious time with Him. Let us also join in her worship of our Lord today and everyday of our lives!