Let's Keep the Main Thing, the Main ThingSeptember 26, 2017 Pastor's Pen
Knowing and Worshipping Christ
Over the years, building Lego projects has been a fun and treasured time with my kids. Once, I helped one of my boys build his new Star Wars Lego spaceship. This was the biggest Lego building project of his (then) young seven-year-old life. So as much as I wanted the spaceship to be brought to completion within a 12-hour day, I wanted him to personally experience building his first big ship, and simply coach him through it. So we walked slowly through the process, step by step, as he put the pieces together.
From the outset, I kept reminding him of the main thing, of the importance of building a strong, firm foundation, of not just attaching pieces together, but also to make sure the pieces were tightly attached and reinforced. “No matter what, buddy, remember that the main thing is to make sure the foundation is stable and solid, otherwise you will have problems later on.” Of course, dads don’t know much about building Lego sets like this, let alone Star Wars Lego spaceships. So, my all-wise little one (seven years old, mind you!) took my expertise in this area lightly. Toward the end of the project, we experienced major problems. After some time and assessment, we determined (really dad determined through some leading, craftily-disguised answers) that the foundation had not been firmly established, and was the cause of a sorry and crumbling Star Wars spaceship. Needless to say, after about an hour of troubleshooting, my little seven-year-old remembered my words of caution, “the main thing is to make sure the foundation is stable and solid.”
As Christians, we also need to be reminded, continually, of “the main thing,” for too often we lose sight of cultivating an intimate relationship with the Lord. We are guilty of building much into our Christian lives, all the while losing sight of the foundation, our Savior Jesus Christ. He is most important. We can get caught up in doing many things, even engaging in noble, spiritual pursuits, like reading the Bible, prayer, and other crucial disciplines, and yet fail to keep in mind that these disciplines are not an “end in themselves,” but God’s gracious means to knowing Him, and drawing closer to Him in intimate relationship. It is quite possible to be engaged in seemingly profitable activity and not be keeping the main thing the main thing, even in the midst of all our personal goals and spiritual endeavors.
Consider for a moment the account of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42. These two women had undoubtedly heard of our Lord’s teaching, preaching, and healing ministry. The Lord Jesus is “welcomed” by one of the women, Martha, into their home. Both of these women were likely excited beyond what we can imagine, anticipating Jesus’ time in their home. They obviously desired to be good hosts to our Lord. Interestingly, Luke’s narrative informs us of two contrasting responses to our Lord’s visit. Mary simply “sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word” (v. 39), while Martha, according to verse 40, “was distracted with much serving.” Mary was so captivated by the Lord that she could do nothing else but sit at His feet. Outraged, Martha approaches our Lord Jesus and says to Him, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” Martha is a stressed-out woman. The word “distracted” here means “tumult,” “uproar,” “a highly distressed turbulence of the mind.” But before we are too hard on poor Martha, wouldn’t we respond in similar fashion, if we had a guest of this caliber and high profile? She wanted to impress the Lord. She was concerned with properly handling all of the necessary details. Perhaps she wanted him to feel comfortable and at home. We would want the same thing if our Lord visited our home, right?
Well, what do we learn from Luke’s insightful account? Was this simply a case of a diligent woman (Martha) and a lazy one (Mary)? Far from it, as our Lord’s response to Martha’s plea would indicate, “But the Lord answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her’” (vv 41-42). Our Lord exposes the heart of the issue here. In the midst of all of her preparations, and even diligent service, Martha had forgotten about the main thing. You see, Mary rightly understood that what was most “necessary” at that moment was sitting at the feet of the Lord Jesus. It was all about enjoying Him, knowing Him, worshipping Him. While Martha ran around trying to make sure every nitty, gritty detail was taken care of, Mary had “chosen the good part,” knowing and worshipping Christ!
What a lesson for us here. Beloved, we too can get busy doing “good” and “right” things, perhaps, in the name of “service.” But even good things can be misguided, and even sinful, if we do not keep Christ as the priority. As we look at the future, we may have many desires, goals, and aspirations. This is wonderful and exciting. We should plan, and take practical steps to discipline ourselves, whether physically or, more importantly, spiritually. It is true, many times a “failure to plan is planning for failure.” However, in the midst of our planning, and even noble desires and endeavors, we should make sure that we keep in mind what is most important, and “why” we do what we do. May we not lose sight of what is most necessary, of the main thing, which is knowing and worshipping Christ! May we be people, like Mary, who count it a privilege to sit at the feet of our precious Lord Jesus, daily, listening to Him and gazing upon His majesty. Christ is the main reason we do what we do. Keep the main thing the main thing, and make it your passion to know, worship, and imitate our King and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!