The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
Better Things

A first-grade teacher was having a difficult day. It had rained that entire day and the children couldn’t go out for recess. As a result they became more restless and hyperactive throughout the day. The teacher couldn’t wait for the bell to ring at 3 o’clock. At 2:45 she saw it was still raining, so she decided to start preparing the kids for dismissal. She sorted out their boots and raincoats and started helping them get dressed to leave. Finally, they were ready to go, all except for one little boy whose boots were just too small for his feet. There were no zippers or straps, and it took every last ounce of strength she had to get them on his feet.

When at last, she did get them on, she straightened up with a sigh of relief. That’s when the little boy looked down at his feet and said, "Teacher, you know what? These boots aren’t mine!"

She didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, but being the good teacher she was, she smiled bravely and started taking them off his feet. They were even harder to get off than they were to put on him. She yanked and tugged until finally the boots were off the child. That’s when the little boy smiled at her and said, "They’re not my boots, but they are my sister’s and I got to wear them!"
Many people spin their wheels in “religious devotion” to God thinking that their many works are going to make Christ love them more. Amazingly, they can work and work and never make him love them more because he already loves them as much as possible. To top it all off, many of their religious actions were never commanded by Christ in the first place.

Lazarus and Mary’s sister, Martha was like this. When Jesus came to visit the two sisters, they had worked hard to get everything in their house perfect for the Master. The house had to be spotless; the religious documents and symbols had to be in prominent locations; and the meal had to be perfect. When Jesus arrived, the arrangements were not up to the standards of Martha, yet Mary abandoned her to spend all her time at Jesus’ feet listening to his message. Martha was left with all the work. Many of us feel sympathetic to Martha because we’ve been abandoned to do all the hard stuff by others as well. But, when Martha complained about it to Jesus, he had no sympathy for her dilemma. He told her that she had placed too much priority on unimportant things, while Mary was only interested in building a relationship with Jesus. Mary had sought the better things while Martha was simply hung up on good things.

We need to evaluate our efforts and see if we aren’t trying to please God by our deeds rather than enjoying the relationship he has already offered us through his precious Son. Let’s just worship him with our hearts and let the work we do fall under the better things.

This Sunday, we will continue our sermon series concerning the Mission of First Christian Church. It is titled Mission Possible. This week’s message is The Mission of Jesus based on Luke 19:1-10. I hope you will join us as we seek the best ways to follow Jesus in the mission he has set before us.

Seeking the Better with you,

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