Ask and receive are two parts that make a whole. When I ask God to show me the next right thing to do, I receive God’s guidance—often pointing me to the simple tasks of everyday life. When I ask God to be with me in times of stress or sorrow, I receive God’s comforting presence—often through the compassion and kindness of friends, family, or strangers. When I ask God to make me more like the Lord, I receive God’s grace—often through opportunities to practice gratitude, forgiveness, and patience.
When I ask God to teach me to pray, I receive the longing to spend quiet time with God, getting to know the Lord more intimately. I receive the courage to take those quiet moments to be renewed in the Lord’s love. And I receive the joy of being in the presence of the One who loves me and who is teaching me to love more perfectly.
Luke 10:38-42 Johannes (Jan) Vermeer – Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, 1654 Google Art Project Wikimedia Commons
I tend to be like Martha – keeping busy, doing the laundry, making a meal, getting the groceries, rushing to work, paying the bills, checking my email… and welcoming friends and even strangers who need a listening ear.
On the other hand, I tend to be like Mary – taking time to ponder the things of God. I love to sit on my step and look at the trees and feel the Holy Spirit wind. I love to walk on the beach and feel the rhythm of the ocean and watch the sea gulls soaring. I love to talk to friends and hear their stories and insights about life. I love having time to do nothing in particular except be.
Jesus is right: Mary has chosen the better part. But he didn’t say that Martha’s part isn’t good or necessary. I think he is giving me a gentle reminder about balance. If I am a spiritual being in human form, then I need to consciously place my spirit in the presence of God every day.
When I notice your pain, your grief, your struggle—compassion moves me to reach out, to comfort, to console. I have been where you are. I have experienced rejection, abandonment, abuse, and loss.
It starts with the awareness. If I am not aware of my own pain, I will never notice yours. If I am not aware of my own suffering, I will walk by and leave you on your own. If I am not aware of my own humanity, I will tend to overlook yours. If I am not aware of the Truth of my place as a beloved child of God, I will never welcome you as an equally beloved child of God.
Open my eyes and heart to love my neighbor as myself.
[Jesus] said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” Luke 10:2a
[Jesus said to them,] “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!'” Luke 10:5
Do I bring peace with me wherever I go, whatever place I enter? Do I smile, say please and thank you, hold the door for others? Do I make eye contact and greet everyone I meet? Do I stop to help someone in need, listen to someone’s story, comfort someone who is suffering? Do I remember to be grateful for running water, plentiful food, access to education, and all the other gifts that fill my daily life?
How can I bring a bit of the Lord’s peace with me today?