I tend to feel guilty when I’m not being productive. What’s that all about? I think this is the “way of the world” — the gotta-be-busy mindset. Unfortunately, busyness is a high price to pay when the appearance of unproductivity will bring eternal life.
I have been trying to figure out why Luke would put this story of Mary and Martha immediately after the story of the Good Samaritan. But I didn’t go back far enough. The Good Samaritan story was an answer to the question: “What must I do to inherit eternal life.”
Is it possible that the Mary and Martha story is also about eternal life?
What is “eternal life?”
We get sidetracked by the word “eternal.” Yes, in English, eternal means “without end.” But most places in the Old Testament, eternal and everlasting are applied to circumstances that have beginnings and endings.
Many biblical scholars agree that in the first century the combined words in Greek, “eternal life,” referred to the quality of life God desires for you and me, the abundant life.
The Aramaic words add more clarity. They identify the words as meaning “a life of passion, energy, and vitality.” That’s the kind of life that’s available today – if you love God with all your being, if you love your neighbor as yourself, and as a follow up – if you take time to sit down and meditate on the teaching of Jesus.
I can attest to that. Meditating on Jesus changed my life. I had to write a book about how I did it because it made such an impact on me. And the impact came after I was already drawn to get into congregational ministry.
The move into the ministry resulted from meditating, or actually, centering prayer. That practice changed my life. But then, meditating on the biblical stories of Jesus changed my understanding of God and theology, and gave me a more abundant life – eternal life.
That abundance is about understanding and awakening to the present moment, and about being content, and being confident in who I am and who God is, and having peace of mind in the midst of wars, tornadoes, social eruptions, etc.
What price do you put on eternal life? What price do you put on peace of mind?
There is a cost. The cost is time. Time to meditate. Twenty minutes, preferably twice a day. I don’t care what kind of meditating you do – centering prayer, meditating on Scripture, contemplation, transcendental meditation – it will open your heart and mind to God who dwells within you.
There are books that can teach you about this – I’ve listed a couple on the right side of the page. The one that I started with was “Open Mind, Open Heart” by Thomas Keating.
And later I wrote one that I released in January, 2013, but now I’ve changed the title to 30 Days to Loving God with All Your Heart. It’s available on Kindle right now, but I will be giving it away soon to those who are reading this blog and a few others. So don’t buy it. (I’m waiting until I get the paperback proof to schedule the dates. Sorry but only the ebook can be free. Paper costs money.) I’ll let you know when it’s going to be free.
Do you want eternal life? You have to leave the kitchen, the landscaping, the workplace, and plant yourself in a chair for twenty minutes. Tie yourself down if you must. It’s worth it.
Do it religiously…and you will inherit eternal life.