Dustin and Brandon,
Lewis postulated the law of first and second things.
He explains it like this:
preference of a small good to a great, or partial good to a total good, involves
the loss of the small or partial good for which the sacrifice was made.
the world is made that way. If Esau really got the pottage in return for his
birthright, then Esau was a lucky exception. You can't get second things by
putting them first; you can get second things only by putting first things
first. From which it would follow that the question, “What things are
first?” is of concern not only to philosophers but everyone.
things first! If I do that then I
get everything else too; if I don’t then I lose everything.
But Lewis is merely echoing the words of Jesus: “Seek ye first the
kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto
you.” Matthew 6:33
concept is illustrated excellently in the story of Mary and Martha.
as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha
welcomed Him into her home. She had
a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word.
But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to
Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all
the serving alone? Then tell her to help me."
the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and
bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has
chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
you always felt more sympathy for Martha than Mary?
complaint goes like this:
that is how I feel about it then I have something to learn.
says in John 17:3 that the ultimate meaning of life is to know God.
He doesn’t say the ultimate meaning of life is to do things for God or
even to serve God but to know Him. A
good example of this is marriage since it is the most intimate form of
love we know. If you look at the beginning of marriage, which is falling
in love, what do lovers want more than anything else? Simply the presence
of the other, right? They
don’t want the other person to do something for them or even necessarily to
say anything, but simply to be there. Woody
Allen said, “90% of life is just showing up!”
If someone you love is dying you often ask, “Is there anything I can do
for you?” And it’s a silly
question because you’ve already
done it. The most important thing
is just being there, not saying anything or doing anything.
that is, of course, the best definition of what prayer is.
An anonymous peasant who, when asked how he prayed, said, “I just look
at Him and He looks at me.” So I
don’t need to do anything or even to say anything but to just be with God.
To realize that God is real and God is present and God is looking at me.
If I simply turn toward God and look at Him it is like turning toward the
sun; I’m not doing much but it lights up my whole face.
if I want to accomplish things in my life like Martha then I must spend time
hanging out with God. And actually,
while I'm there with Him I need to listen more than I talk. If I were talking to a little infant I would do most of the
talking, if I were talking to an equal I’d do half the talking and if I were
talking to the most brilliant man in the world I would do very little of the
talking, so if I am talking to God I’d better do almost none of it!
So I must just say, “Speak Lord for you servant hears.”
Or “Be it done to me according to Your word.”
And then what happens?
was a woman that said that once and what happened was the salvation of the
world. And I don’t think she is
an exception. I think she is a
model. I think we need to be like
wombs and Jesus wants to come down into our minds and our lives and our culture.
But he will never rape us, only seduce us but we have to open the womb of
our mind to Him.
is it so hard to spend time just being with God; listening to God? It is so easy! And
when we do He multiplies our time and we get more done. We have all tried it both ways and it always works the one
way and it never works the other way! Why
do we run around on our own two feet like Martha instead of sitting at His feet
can think of two reasons. One, we
are insane! Two, the devil is
terrified of that quiet place and he does everything in his power to keep us
from it. So, don’t listen to him.
Listen to God. If you do, He will tell you something He didn’t tell you
before and lead you in a direction He didn’t lead you before and you will be
able to accomplish something that you haven't accomplished before.
Martha has always been an example of holy work and Mary of holy contemplation and of course they fit together. They are sisters. Jesus is not condemning Martha. He is just saying, “Poor Martha! You have put second things first.” Whenever you put second things first, you not only miss first things but you mess up second things! If you put first things first, then not only do you get first things but you also get second things. So if we can do the contemplation of Mary then we can do the work of Martha in the spirit of Mary instead of the spirit of Martha.
I think I see the wisdom in this. Do you?
*Thanks to CS Lewis and Peter Kreeft for helping me understand these things.*
Dear Dustin and Brandon,
Yesterday I listened to a program on
Oregon Public Broadcast where a man was telling of his intense struggle
with lust when he was young; how he was raised in a church that taught him
all the rules of God about sex, you know, about fornication and adultery and
impure thoughts and actions.
In the end, he couldn’t do it.
He couldn’t keep from looking lustfully at girls; he couldn’t
keep away from Playboy magazines. He
said it just wasn’t normal and that, in making such a big deal out of it, he
just turned his sexuality into an obsession.
And you know what the crazy thing is? I agree with him. It IS impossible to do.
But God doesn’t ask us to do the
impossible alone. He has promised to do it for us.
The answer is not in focusing on the problem and trying harder to “be
good”. That will only produce an
unhealthy obsession with evil. The
answer is focusing on Him in a moment by moment, dynamic relationship; spending
special time each day with Him and then taking Him with us through our days.
We are not robots and He doesn’t force us to do this so
the only way we can be successful in our struggle with our dark side is to
choose to do it. Ellen White says, "The youth cannot make life
a success unless they center their affections upon God." 4T 623
"Prayer is heaven's ordained means of success in the conflict with sin and
the development of Christian character." AA 564
Why do you think King David and Isaiah
God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my
strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”?
Isaiah 12:2-3 Psalms 118:14
do you think? It is because He
really IS our strength and it is He and only He who can give us the power to overcome our dark side. But
how can He if we refuse to take time to be with Him, to develop and cultivate an intimate friendship,
to choose to be His companion.
So do you really love Jesus? Do you really want to live a life of integrity and goodness—the life of the knights of old? Do you really want to overcome your fallen nature? Then you must take Him seriously. It won’t happen by accident. This is no game guys; this is a matter of life and death and we must live our lives with that ever in mind.
I have given you the choice between life and death, between the blessing and the
curse. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that
you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”
I challenge you to choose life, life both now and for eternity.
Because Jesus said: “This
IS eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus
Christ whom You have sent.” John
Himself IS our way to victory over our internal demons.
And only by connecting ourselves with Him can we overcome.
I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
The Truth and
burns within you, like a bed of fiery coals
power to liberate a thousand weary souls
But if the
Truth will EVER set you free depends on you
You want to,
now WILL you?
to making an active choice to be His friend,
You are my hiding place