The Good Part
Hunters take advantage of bull elk’s raking trees to polish their antlers. With their eyes closed, busily making sure every part of their points is polished and rubbed, plus the noise from the rustling of leaves means the elk cannot see or hear a hunter creeping toward them. Distracted by all his busyness, this becomes the good part of the hunter’s story when he retells it to his friends. However, this is not the good part of the story for the elk, in fact, it’s the bad part. If only the bull elk changed his posture from all that performance-based polishing he would live to see another sunrise. But the sad part of the story is he has let his guard down and allowed himself to become vulnerable to an arrow or shot that will start a blood trail yet again.
Like the elk, we can become so distracted by all our striving to impress others that we make trouble for ourselves. The hunter, Satan doesn’t need to shoot another arrow from his quiver to start the blood trail because when we’ve allowed ourselves to become so distracted by a performance-based mindset, we’ve let our thinking spiral downwards into a bothered and anxious state and our old wounds of abandonment and betrayal start to bleed out again.
Perhaps this is why we are so drawn to the story of Mary and Martha in Luke chapter 10:38-42. The story starts with Martha welcoming Jesus into her home. ‘Now while they were on their way, Jesus entered a village [called Bethany], and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet, and was continually listening to his teaching. But Martha was very busy and distracted with all her serving responsibilities; and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, is it no concern to You that my sister has left me to do the serving alone? Tell her to help me and do her part.’ But the Lord replied to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered and anxious about so many things; but one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part [that which is to her advantage], which will not be taken away from her.’
The good part about the story which Jesus was pointing to is the fact He knew both sisters’ hearts and He didn’t dismiss the need for Martha’s serving responsibilities. We all have a responsibility in the church to serve each other. Nevertheless, I don’t think this story is really about serving at all because if you peel back the layers, I believe, Jesus was showing His male disciples the importance of women becoming disciples in a culture that only saw the role of a woman as a homemaker.
If we look at the bigger picture, we understand that most people sat on chairs or reclined on couches at festivities when this story took place. But disciples sat at the feet of their teachers and discipleship was not permitted if you were a woman. Mary was breaking protocol sitting at the feet of Jesus and this behaviour could have perhaps offended Jesus’ disciples, so Jesus was possibly bringing this to everyone’s attention by saying to Martha, ‘you are worried and bothered and anxious about so many things; but one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part’. Jesus was saying that being His disciple was the good part, it was the most important thing to do, and Mary’s posture, her keenness, her hunger, even though she was a woman, even though her role was seen as homemaker by her culture, was to sit at Jesus’ feet and learn from Him.
The posture of a bull elk when he’s polishing his antlers is one of distraction. His whole focus is to shine up his antlers to impress. But the good part of Mary’s story was her posture because it wasn’t what people expected of her. Mary wasn’t worried about what people thought she should or shouldn’t do. She’d found the good part and postured herself at the feet of Jesus to become a disciple, and if that meant disappointing her sister and rubbing her up the wrong way, then so be it.
My imagination runs wild as I think more and more about the good part of this story. I’d like to believe that Mary was possibly helping her sister serve the guests before Jesus arrived. It could be that she was handing out a tray of pre-dinner nibbles and was just about to head back into the kitchen when Jesus showed up and started teaching His disciples something of importance. And as Mary moved around the crowd with her half-empty tray of finger foods, she suddenly felt hungry. Not a hunger for food but a hunger to hear more of Jesus’ teaching. Mary would have understood her posture of sitting at the feet of Jesus would have shocked the Jewish men in her presence, but she pushed through those feelings and did it anyway.
I know what it feels like to be wounded by the hunter, Satan. I became so distracted by all my bothered and anxious, performance-based polishing that I became too afraid to change my posture and position just in case people thought less of me. But I got tired of being struck by the hunter’s arrows and decided to stop running. I have so many bad parts in my story but this was the good part because I learned to change my posture and position so I could sit at the feet of Jesus.
When you feel called to do something, something good for God, you need to decide what needs to stay in your life and what needs to change. The good part of your story is how your posture and position yourself when Jesus shows up.
So, don’t you think it’s about time you got to the good part of your story?
Have you become so distracted by all your striving and polishing that you haven’t noticed the hunter lining up his scope so he can take another shot at you?
I pray today that you will choose the good part and sit at the feet of Jesus. Don’t worry about what everyone else is thinking or doing. Just allow Him to calm your bothered and anxious state and rest awhile.
Except in this blog taken from my new book, ‘Wounded and on the Run” How The Worst Pain Can Lead You Into Your Greatest Calling.’ Published by Doll Ministries, Adelaide, SA, 2022.