Fellowship with the Lord
“Now it came to pass, as they went, that he [Jesus] entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
Jesus and His disciples visit Martha and her sister Mary. Martha begins to prepare a meal. As she does, Jesus begins to speak. Everything Jesus says is important, and the disciples listen intently. So does Mary.
Meanwhile, Martha is busy preparing. She pays strict attention to her work. After all, this meal is for the Lord. As she labors, however, she notices Mary is sitting, listening to Jesus, and not helping her. Martha becomes irritated. She is doing all this work alone! Finally, she approaches Jesus and asks, “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.”
Jesus knew how she felt, but He didn’t grant her request. Instead, He said, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42) Martha was doing nothing wrong by serving, but the Lord made it clear that Mary was doing something more important than Martha. Here’s why.
1 Corinthians 1:9 says, “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” It does not say, “…ye were called unto faithful church attendance,” “…ye were called unto service in the church,” or “…ye were called unto right living,” although these are important. It says, “…ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” (boldface added) Fellowship with Jesus is the “one thing that is needful,” that “good part” that Jesus spoke about with Martha.
How do you fellowship with someone? By communicating back and forth. You speak while he or she listens. Then he or she speaks and you listen. The more you two interact, the better your fellowship. The less you interact, the less you enjoy fellowship. Friendships thrive on communication. So does marriage, by the way. That’s why communication, which includes actively listening to your spouse, is so important.
It’s the same way with the Christian life. We can’t sit at Jesus’ feet physically as Mary did because Jesus is in heaven. Yet when we read from the Bible or meditate on Scripture we memorized, we are hearing Jesus’ words in a way that is just as meaningful as if He were here physically. Likewise, when we pray, God hears our words of worship, thanks, confession, and petition. We can’t see Him, but the Bible assures us He hears us: “O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.” (Psalm 65:2)
Church attendance, serving, and living right are important, but fellowship with Jesus is most important. Christians can strive to do right, and we should. Yet fellowship with Jesus is the key to joy for a Christian: “…in thy presence is fulness of joy;” (Psalm 16:11, boldface added) We need to spend time often in the Lord’s presence through His Word and prayer. If we don’t, we will lack fellowship with Him, and joy will be lacking as well. That is that “good part” Jesus spoke of that Mary had chosen and that all of us need.
Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again so we could have fellowship with Him, now and for eternity in heaven. If you want to know how to receive Jesus, God the Son, as your personal Saviour, please go to www.clevelandbaptist.org, click “Helpful Links,” then “How Do I Go to Heaven?”
Brian Miller 1/18/2023
Cleveland Baptist Church 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 216/671-2822