It’s easier than you’d think to forget what this is all about. The Christian life, the church—all of it. It’s much easier than you’d think.
How often our plans for church activities or groups become our focus, and we don’t even notice how long it’s been since Jesus crossed our mind.
It’s absurd. It shouldn’t be so easy. But in a world where—just to take a random example—a candidate for a nation’s presidential nomination can make “Look how well my campaign is doing” be the whole substance of his campaign, I suppose we should be accustomed to absurdity. It is easy to lose sight of what really matters.
So we forget. We do “church stuff”—run social gatherings, have committee meetings, even attend worship services—and still manage to miss the fact of Jesus and what he means for our lives: that we are loved by God, that we are sinners, that we were given an astonishing gift in Jesus’ coming and in his death on the cross. Jesus affects everything. And yet too often he doesn’t.
It’s not restricted to our bizarre contemporary world, though. The great example, of course, is the story of Mary and Martha and the visit Jesus made to their home (Luke 10:38-42). Mary “sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.” Martha was concerned to appear to be a good host, so she “was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.” Her concern about appearances or reputation, all in the good name of hospitality, had a brought on a good deal of anxiety, and the same case of amnesia that too commonly afflicts us.
Jesus said that “only one” thing really mattered, and it was that one thing which Mary had chosen: to assume a humble, adoring, attentive posture before Jesus, her Lord.
That’s still what we are given to do. And after all the “preparations” disappear—all our worship bands and church choirs, our committees and social fellowships, our building improvements and annual budgets—it still comes down to that one thing. It doesn’t matter so much if your house is in order, your hair is done up, or you’re in your Sunday best: sit at the feet of your Lord, and listen to his word with a heart of gratitude.