Sunday, October 17, 2010

Missing that which is needful on the way to do that which was necessary

John 4.8
(for his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)

Here is a great story of the universal reach of Jesus Christ. As He and His disciples traversed the road from Judea to Galilee, they had to pass by the city of Samaria. there was great emnity between the Jews and the Samaritans. The animosity was such that if a Jew brushed against a Samaritan, he would immediately go wash himself. Here, in this atmosphere, at this time, Jesus decides to wait at the well while his disciples go into the city to buy meat.

Here he encounters a Samaritan woman. He asks her to provide Him with water. There are several things to consider.

The woman came to the well at a time when it was not populated. Most water gathers came in groups for safety and comfort. Solitary travelers were open prey. This woman was more uncomfortable with walking with the women of the city than taking chances with theives and mauraders. She was a 'town harlot'. Her own words convicted her when Jesus asked of her husband. "I have no husband," she replied. "Thou has well said, I have no husband," He replied, "for thou hast had five husbands, and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband."

The woman talked with Jesus and then went to town to bring all the men. She said, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? His disciples had returned and tried to persuade Jesus to eat some meat. He told them he had meat that they did not understand. The men of the city came and Jesus stayed there and taught for two days.

The second thing to consider was along these lines: His disciples were on the road toward town to purchase meat. The woman was on the same road from the city to the well. At some point they would have passed. The disciples, followers of Jesus, possessors and carriers of his words, and the woman, with a need. They, the disciples, on their way to do that which was necessary passed that which was needful.

I wonder how many times, we, in our hurry and haste, to do all the things in a day that are necessary, pass by the things that are needful. In our haste to do the good things, to pay the bills (necessary,) to feed the family (necessary,) and to raise our children (necessary,) do we sometimes pass by the things which belong to God (needful.)

In Ezekiel 42.20, the writer talked about the wall around the sanctuary. He gave dimensions and a purpose. The wall was "to make a seperation between the sanctuary and the profane place."

What is being said is that God wanted a place to keep the Holy things and a seperate place to keep the common things. Call it a broom closet. God knew there were tools and equipment that was necessary for the upkeep of the sanctuary, but did not want that stored in the same place where the instruments of worship and sacrifice were kept. There was meat used to make sacrifice and meat used to feed the priests and temple workers and God wanted that seperated. Several times later in the scriptures, God, through his prophets admonished the Children of Israel for not keeping these things seperate. He admonished his followers for mixing the common with the sacred.

We have to learn to seperate the needful from the necessary.

In Luke 10, Jesus is coming to dinner at the home of Martha and Mary. Martha is busy preparing and serving. It is her duty as a woman of that time. In that day, the woman had the responsibility of the household. It was her duty to keep it neat and cleaned. It was her duty to gather the water and provisions for the daily meals. It was her duty to train and educate the children. It was her duty to serve the needs of household members and guests. All the while she was doing this, she had no rights or authority. Such was the life of the woman in the days of Jesus. In his approach and respect of women, Jesus brushed against another tradition of the old. However, since this is not a discussion of the equality of women, we will leave this except to sat that Martha was doing the things that were necessary in her household.

She was busy about the house making sure all the needs of the guests were met. Her sister, Mary, sat at the feet of Jesus as He discussed and taught the men gathered there. Eventually Martha could hold her tongue no longer. She spoke to Jesus, an obviously learned man in the scriptures and traditions of the day. She asked if it was right that Mary was not cojoined with her in doing the necessary, the duty, the work of the house. Expecting that Jesus would correct Mary for her grevious error, she was, no doubt, surprised by his response.

"Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."

Jesus did not admonish Mary, rather He praised her for choosing the needful thing over the necessary. He did not denigrate Martha, nor say that what she was doing was unnecessary, however, Mary had choosen the needful.

Yes, the electric bill must be paid, the mortgage must be met, the family must be fed, and all of the other host of things that make our days and our lives must still be accomplished. Yet, there is a needful thing in our lives. Jesus tells us to seek first the kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these (other) things will be added to us.

We must make time to pray. We must take time to fast. We must not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. We must worship and praise. We must witness. We must study to show ourselves improved. We must meditate in the Word of God. These are the needful things. These are the things which will carry us to the next life.

These are not our works. These are not our efforts at obtaining salvation. These are the needful things to maintaining our spirit and communication with God.

Can a person never step foot inside a church and still be saved? Yes. There are conditions and circumstances that may make church attendance as we accept it impossible. I cannot tell you that a person will be lost if they never attend church. (Remember .. A truth is a truth is a truth. If it is a truth, it will be true in all cases.) A man, bed-ridden with illness, repents, is baptized, and recieves the Holy Ghost. He never attends a service before he dies. Can you tell me that he will not be saved? No. Therefore, it is not possible to say that one must attend service to be saved.

Is it needful to maintain a relationship with God? I think so. In as much as it is possible in every case, a person needs to assemble with like believers, to build up their holy faith, to encourage their walk, the encourage the walk of others, to receive the Word of God from an annointed servant, and to fellowship in God's house.

Is prayer needful?
Is fasting needful?
Is worship and praise needful?
Is witnessing needful?
Is study of God's Words needful?

To say one cannot be saved without doing them takes away every possibility for anything different and we cannot do that. Someone will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost just before Jesus comes back to take his Bride home.

This is for those walking in faith today. There are necessary things in this world to be done. You will not escape them. There is a place for them. Then, there is a place for the needful things. There is a place for the Godly things. There is a place for the sacred things.

Do not carry the sacred things in your life into the place of the coomon things. Do not carry the common things in your life into the place of the sacred things. The shofar, used to announce spiritual events, was not stored with other instruments of music. Neither must we consider our conversations about God as our common conversations about UK basketball or the weather, or any other like. Our prayers must occupy a sacred place in our lives.

We must be mindful of the needed things in our lives, lest we miss that which is needed on the way to do that which is necessary.

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