Learning to cook is really just an exercise in following directions. As a girl I was certainly bright enough to follow directions- sort of. If the directions said cooking on medium heat was good, I figured high was better. If stirring continuously was good, stirring whenever I thought of it was good enough. You see my greatest challenge in the kitchen was not some Parisian delicacy, it was the belief that I always knew best. The result? Burnt meat, scald sauces and a general mess.
There is one woman in the Bible who is renowned for her work in the kitchen- Martha. In Luke 10, tells of a time when Jesus was visiting Martha and her sister Mary and sharing the love and wisdom of His heavenly father. Mary is sitting at Jesus’ feet soaking up every word but where is Martha? Martha is preparing a meal for all her guest. Eventually Martha complains to Jesus saying in verse 40 “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” In response, Jesus says “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.” This was not the response Martha expected.
At first glance there is something about this story that does not sit right. Was it wrong for Mary to offer Jesus hospitality? No, the Bible encourages hospitality. Was it wrong for her to ask Mary to help? No, there’s no question that as Christians we are expected to serve. So where did Martha mess up? She messed up in the same way that my tainted cooking attempts failed- Martha thought she knew best. Did you pick up on Martha’s tone when she spoke to Jesus? I can almost hear Martha’s thoughts “Surely Jesus expects Mary to pick up her lazy self and help me!” But Mary was wrong. What was best was to sit at Jesus feet and experience all He had to give.
Martha is not alone in this “I-know-best” attitude. I’ve certainly been there- have you? Have you ever assumed you knew what the Lord thought was best just to find out later you were wrong? Have you ever withheld friendship from someone that hurt you just to realize later that Jesus wanted you to forgive? Have you ever dished out discipline when Jesus wanted you to show mercy? What about when you donated to an organization that helps the hurting only to realize you ignored the hurting of your next door neighbor. Here’s the BIG question: do you ask Jesus what is best or do you just assume you already know?
It all comes down to humility. Do you admit your need for the Lord’s wisdom? Do you ask for His guidance as you move forward in life or do you turn to Jesus once you fall off His path? Jesus knows what is best- just ask Him. Consistently and persistently ask Him.