Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Needful Thing 101

Read Luke 10:38-42

Key verse:  "you are worried about many things but only one thing is needed."  Lk. 10:41b,42a

When asked what the most important thing we can do is, Jesus responded that it is to love God "with all your heart and with all your soul and with your mind."(Matt. 22:37)  If you love someone, you want to spend time with them.  We call spending time with God "prayer".  It involves talking and listening.  God isn't interested in our shopping lists as much as He is in us.  And what's more, He knows what is best for us.  He knows that when we spend time with Him, our lives are blessed in wonderful and powerful ways.  

When Jesus was invited to the home of Mary and Martha He gave a beautiful teaching on what is needed in our lives.  Martha was busy making all kinds of preparations for Jesus.  We have so many Marthas in our churches.  They are people like you and me who feel a need to be religious and do all sorts of things for God--things that are good to do and things that we ought to do.  But Jesus clearly says in this exchange with Martha that sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to Him is the most important thing.   If loving God is the most important commandment, and it is, then it is crucial to express that love.  I love my wife, Joy.  I know that doing things for her is an expression of my love.  But what she wants more than my good deeds is me.  She wants quality time with me and she wants me to listen to her.  Our God wants us and He wants us to listen to Him.  Good deeds are important--loving and listening to Him is foremost.  Interestingly, because I love Joy and love spending time with her and I love it when she shares her deepest thoughts with me.  

If we really love God then we will want to spend time with Him.  It will not be drudgery or duty, it will be something we look forward to and enjoy.  If you find that prayer is  not fun then perhaps you should pray that God will help you love Him more.   Maybe it is time for you to get honest with the Lord and admit to Him that you struggle to love Him.  If that is truly the case, He already knows it and I believe He loves it when we confess our weaknesses to Him.  Confession is a very important part of the talking part of prayer.  I know from personal experience that honesty before Him will result in our hearing God's words of forgiveness.  And if we ask Him to help us love Him more the Lord will do it.  

We need to get this right!  Prayer is not a discipline reserved for super-saints.   Listening to Him is not just for certain mystics.  It is at the heart of what it means to be a Christian.  It is needful.

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