Few things are needed—or indeed only one. —Luke 10:42
I knew I was stepping out of my comfort zone when I offered to host a friend’s farewell party. So, on the evening before when a little panic came over me, I sent a distress email to Theresa, another dear friend. “Hi, Ivory,” she replied, “I usually do a run-through in my head of things that might happen: they come through the door (doormat is important); they wash hands (make sure there's soap); they set purses, etc. aside (designate space); glasses or biodegradables (for juice, water, etc.). Don't forget the trash bags, the music (soft), and enough seating for everyone." Very thorough, she advised about several other things, including medications in the bathroom that may need to be moved out of sight for privacy. What I found most reassuring, though, was when she said, “You have the basics covered already: a warm heart and a willing soul.”
Jesus made a similar point to his friend Martha when he visited her home one day. Preoccupied with all the preparations she felt were needed, Martha got upset with her sister Mary who did nothing but sit at Jesus' feet, listening to Him (Luke 10:38-41). When Martha complained to Jesus, He gently rebuked her. “Martha, Martha,” He said, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (v. 42).
At a seminar, Pastor Brian van Deventer made a distinction between environment and atmosphere in the church. He explained that, yes, the lovely snacks, water cooler, and so forth provide a pleasant environment for church members and guests. However, most important are the friendly conversations and warm exchanges among those gathered. Indeed, whether at home or church, may we always strive to place relationships, not things, at the top of our priority list.
Reflection: What do you think people notice most when they visit your home or church? Is it the physical environment, or is it your "warm heart and willing soul"?
Lord, help me to prioritize quality time with You and others with whom I interact each day.
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