About a year ago, I was spending time studying and reflecting on the story of Mary and Martha. And I was struck by what has become for me a foundational truth in my pursuit of God. Luke 8:38-42 says:
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
The Greek for verse 42 is actually better translated, “one thing only is necessary,” and that’s to sit at the feet of Jesus.
And as I was reflecting on this passage I remembered another act of worship that still seems so counter-cultural to me. In Matthew 26 a woman comes to Jesus, and breaks open a very costly jar of alabaster ointment over him. And in response to this, the disciples say “Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor” (Matt. 26:8-9).
As I meditated on these passages, I was struck by the simplicity of what God is really after with us as his people. I was struck by what it means to truly pursue him. That above all else, God is looking for a people who would waste their lives at his feet. He’s looking for a people that would devote themselves to simply being in relationship with him, rather than attempting to serve their way into relationship with him.
The dictionary defines waste as “use or expend carelessly, extravagantly.” The world tells us that we are what we do. We’re defined by what people can see. With that it can often feel like a waste to spend time in worship, prayer, and the study of God’s word.
Every day it’s a struggle for me to make room in the morning to simply sit at the feet of Jesus. Every day it’s tempting to simply get going on a seemingly infinite task list, prioritizing work and serving over simply being.
But you and I were created for relationship above all else. We were made to be with God, to walk with God, and to work with God. God longs for everything we do to flow out of a thriving personal relationship with him. He’s asking us to give our lives first and foremost to simply being with him, trusting that as we abide in him in love that he will bear much fruit in us (John 15).
My hope is that this song becomes a prayer for us as God’s people. I hope that it is a tool we can use to refocus our time and attention on what God is really asking for, what he’s really after, which is a people that waste their lives at his feet.