Prayer for the Week

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


What’s Most Important

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost | July 21, 2019

Adriaenssen, Vincent, 1595-1675. Christ in the House of Mary and Martha, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved July 19, 2019]. Original source:

Amos 8:1-12 • Psalm 52 • Colossians 1:15-28 • Luke 10:38-42

38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”

41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38-42 New Living Translation (NLT)

We continue our journey through Luke. Two weeks ago we looked at Jesus sending out his disciples. Last week we looked at the most important commandment. We are in Luke 10 again this week with a short story about Mary and Martha. Luke reminds us again that Jesus is continuing toward Jerusalem. He comes to the house where two sisters live, Mary and Martha. If you are like me, you’ve heard many interpretations about this passage. This afternoon, James and I went out for ice cream and I began to think about this passage again. While my application is similar – it comes with a little twist.

As you remember Martha welcomed Jesus and disciples into her home. If this is the same Mary and Martha who had a brother named Lazarus, they weren’t far from Jerusalem. We don’t get that sense in this passage. Martha is busy preparing a meal. Her sister Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to Him. We’ve all been there – working on a big dinner – trying to keep up with it all, but we would love someone to help us. Martha doesn’t say anything, but you know how that goes. You are working and working and it seems like nobody even cares. Finally she blurts out to Jesus, “Doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work?” She even tells Jesus what she wants out of it, “Tell her to come and help me.”

Jesus gently rebukes Martha, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it…” Ouch. I’m sure that Martha wasn’t expecting that.

So what can we learn from this little exchange? It wasn’t as if Mary was not concerned about the preparations for the meal, but Jesus was here! What would you be more concerned about if Jesus came to visit you in the flesh? Would you concerned what your house looked like? Would you be overly concerned about entertaining him? Apparently this is what distracted Martha, but Mary wanted to hang on to every word. She wanted to know how to follow Jesus more closely. Martha was busy taking care of business. It’s quite like us at times – we are like Martha busy taking care of the business of the church and fail to get close to Jesus – and yet there are those – who aren’t interested in going through the motions – they want to be like Mary and learn from Jesus. This is what discipleship is all about. It’s learning how to be more like Jesus.

But wait…there’s more. What if learning to be more like Jesus also means that we are doers of the Word – doers of Jesus? (James 1:25) Not doers like Martha was – who was simply concerned about the externals…not only listening to Jesus – being a disciple – being a Christ-follower, but doing what He tells us to do. Several weeks ago, I was reminded of this statement: “We are educated well beyond the level of our obedience.” Sometimes we hunger for more and more and more of God’s Word and yet God wants us to act on what we already know. Perhaps this is what Martha was lacking. Jesus knew that she needed to hear more from Himself (God’s Word) in order to obey the Word better. Sometimes we need to listen, but more often we simply need to act on what we already know.

Walking, Keys, and a Good Deed

Many years ago on this blog, I regularly shared stories of real life chronicles. Sometimes they had a spiritual edge and sometimes I shared them for the sake of sharing them. Today something happened that was worthy of a story.

On Wednesdays through Fridays I drive a school van. There are three hours from drop-off to pick-up. In order to save me a drive back to Eldred, I developed a routine this winter in which I started to exercise during that time.

This morning was no different, but I was concerned about the rain that might be coming. I had my phone, my wallet, and the key to the van I was driving and headed out for a walk after I dropped off the students. I parked in one of the parking lots for University of Pittsburg – Bradford. They have a great little paved walking/running/biking trail. What I did was walk a mile out to the end of the trail, turned around and walked another two miles, which took me into the downtown of Bradford, turned around and walked the mile back to the van. When I got back to the van, I looked for my key and discovered it was missing. What was I going to do?

When pulling into the parking lot, I noticed that the pastor’s husband (who works maintenance at UPB, was working in that parking lot. He was still there when I got back. I told him I had lost my key somewhere along the trail. I had already finished 4 miles and really didn’t want to do another 4 miles. Fortunately there was a student worker with them who took me out in one of the small maintenance vehicles. I should have had her start on the last part of the trail I walked. But we searched the first two miles I walked first – then went to the second two miles. About a half mile passed where my van was – there it was – my key to the van. I picked it up and she drove me back to the van. I was thankful for the help, because nobody was obligated to help me. It most definitely saved me some time. It was a great example of what we at Chick-fil-A called Second Mile Service. I was so excited that they helped me and that I found my key. The rest of the day was uneventful compared to that.

Sunday Night Thoughts

This weekend, I ended up organizing the DVD’s in our entertainment center. It reminded me that we have many good movies that we can watch. This evening I was looking through for something to watch and came across “The Lion King.” This has been my favorite Disney movie. I almost pulled it out of our collection to watch – and it might be faster – and no commercials, but I don’t want to watch the whole thing tonight. Maybe later this week, we will pull out the DVD and watch.

Anyway, today was a gorgeous day – we had a little thunderstorm last night. Right now the hill is a beautiful shade of sun-drenched green, with the blue sky just above. This week I got back to a regular schedule of van runs. We had a ministerium meeting and got to meet a new pastor in our community.

I am currently working on my CDL training. I need another two nights of training. Then I will have to take the knowledge test to get my learner’s permit.

Yesterday was a wonderful relaxing day which set us up for today. Our District Superintendent was here and brought us a great message from God’s Word. I had the opportunity to lead the musical worship. The Holy Spirit was evident. After church we went to Sprague’s and now we are relaxing watching the Lion King. Got to get up early for an early four miler tomorrow. Have a great week.

Prayer for the Week

O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Running Update

Image by mrdjrlawrence from Pixabay

Another week has passed by so that means it’s time for another running update.

This week I pulled back my mileage so that I wasn’t hurting all the time. I have been doing stretching. This week, because of my schedule, I ended up doing to back to back runs. On Monday and Tuesday I did 4 miles each and then yesterday and today, I did 5 miles each. That brought my weekly total to 18 miles, plus for more walking miles. My plan this week is to run back to backs on Monday/Tuesday (4 miles each) – five miles on Thursday and then six on Saturday. Hopefully I can get in four mile walks on Wednesday and Friday. What I would do from that point is try to extend my Saturday runs. When you run long, everything feels better. I don’t think I’m going to make my July mileage goal, but I’m feeling better and I’d rather be running reduced mileage than not running at all. I continue to press on!