LIFE MORE ABUNDANTLY ® TAKE TIME FOR LOVE

February 2020

By Dr. ANDREA OATES


“Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential..” {Luke 10:41, The Message Translation}

How would we like to have Jesus Christ, the Messiah, over for dinner? I can imagine we would be excited that our invitation was accepted, but anxious at the same time. Will my home be clean enough? I have to make sure I have a beautiful fresh-flower centerpiece and use my fine China, sterling silverware,
crystal goblets and linen napkins. I would fret over preparing the perfect fivecourse menu cooked to perfection. We certainly cannot deny that the Son of the Most High God is worthy of VIP treatment-red carpet and all. I would also invite my relatives and closest friends to enjoy Jesus’ company as we dined.

Entertaining is exciting and fun. However, for the host, it is often a lot of work. After all, such events have to be planned carefully and executed seamlessly.
Oftentimes, though, in our efforts to present our guests with the best, we go above and beyond our own capability. Then frustration comes. What was once a labor of love gives way to an “I’ll-be-glad-when this-is-over” attitude of agitation. Sadly, attitudes are transparent. Most times they are revealed through furrowed brows and frowns. At its height, though, our frustrations spew out of our mouths-even in front of our honored guests.

Martha, like many of us, found herself in such a state. She had been more than happy to have Jesus and others at her home to enjoy a meal. However, the weight of her concern for its implementation became a burden to her. In her frustration, she vented to Him in front of them all. “Jesus, tell my sister to help me,” was her cry. I can imagine she held back tears at trying to do it all herself or she stubbornly stuck out her chest and lifted her chin in self-righteousness. After all, she may have thought, things have to get done and I cannot do it all by myself. However, instead of rebuking Mary as she’d hoped, Jesus addressed the heart of the matter. He revealed that the problem was really with Martha. Her priorities were fiercely out of order. While she was cumbered about serving to prove her love, Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet. Mary opted to take advantage of that unique opportunity by giving the honored guest all of her attention.

So often, in our efforts to demonstrate our love by performing tasks to please the ones we love, we sometimes forget the needful thing. Sometimes we can get so distracted with serving that we forget that relationships are the most important thing. Relationships are not built on the external but on the internal. They must be built and nourished through heart-toheart fellowship where communication flows. They are nurtured through the intimate time we spend paying attention to another’s words and responding with our own. What often means most to people are things we most often neglect: a smile, a hug, saying “I love and appreciate you,” and giving them our undivided attention. Not doing so can be the little foxes that spoil the vine.

We all have to judge ourselves. Are we really maintaining quality relationships or are we just performing? Yes, there are lots of things in life that are necessary to maintain a standard of living. We have bills to pay. Who else is going to pay rent and keep the water, lights, cable, and cellular phones on? Who else is going to cook breakfast, lunch, dinner, and provide snacks in between? Who else is going to work to put clothes on others’ backs? But in the midst of living, let’s not forget the needful things.

In addition, we do not want to be guilty of serving The God of Love so much so that we have forgotten to enjoy a personal, intimate relationship with Him. He called such ones workers of iniquity. They excelled in the outward performance of good works but failed to “sit at His feet.” To such Jesus declared, “Depart from Me. I never knew you.” Although serving is a great way to demonstrate your love, let’s not forget to take time to nurture those relationships especially our relationship with God. After all, the greatest gift of love is the giving of oneself. And God requires all of you. Not just your hands, but your heart as well. He is waiting right now to spend quality time with you. Make a plan to take time for “Love.” SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Matthew 7:22-24, Luke 10:38-42, John 15:13