Graham Cooke: pgs. 15-17
LESSONS FROM EPHESUS
AND TWO WOMEN
The paradox of being and doing is seen throughout Scripture.
In Revelation 2:1-5, we see one example of this phenomenon,
in a letter written by Christ to the church at Ephesus:
To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,
“These things says He who holds the seven stars in His
right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden
lampstands: ‘I know your works, your labor, your patience,
and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you
have tested those who say they are apostles and are not,
and have found them liars; and you have persevered and
have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and
have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against
you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore
from where you have fallen; repent and do the first
works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove
your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.’”
The church of Ephesus was full of good, hardworking people.
They loved to do ministry. Their church endured and persevered
through troubles. They were efficient and did good deeds. Yet
somehow their relationship with God had gotten lost in all of
the business. “I have this against you, that you have left your first
love,” Jesus said. “Remember therefore from where you have fallen;
repent and do the first works.” In other words, God was calling
Ephesus to think back to its acts of adoration and to reconnect
with Him in worship.
Repentance means to change one’s mind and find a different
paradigm to live under. Ephesus, and by extension all Christians
who do more than be, needed to change their lifestyle to
reflect their most urgent priority: worshipping God. “Do the first
works”—start by practicing all of the things you used to do in
praise, in worship, and in your devotional life.
God doesn’t actually need people to evangelize the Earth,
do mission projects, or give away millions of dollars. What He
is looking for are people who will worship Him in spirit and in
truth. That doesn’t just mean singing in meetings, or going for
it when the band is rocking. He wants people who worship Him
in the way they live. He wants people like Mary and Martha, as
recorded in Luke 10:38-42: “Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain
village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed
Him into her house. And she had a sister called
Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.
But Martha was distracted with much serving, and
she approached Him and said, “Lord do you not care that my sister has left
me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha,
you are worried and troubled about many things.
But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that
good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
EACH ONE OF US IS A MARY
AND A MARTHA, AND BOTH
Both Mary and Martha were right, but for completely different
reasons. Paradoxes aren’t about one right answer and one
wrong one: both sides of a paradox are right. The issue is primacy.
When push comes to shove, what is most important to us? What
takes precedence? Without Marthas very little would get done in
the Church. Marthas sacrifice, organize and create places where
Marys can flourish in worship. But without Marys, everything
we do would come from a religious duty. We actually need both.
Each one of us is a Mary and a Martha, and both are legitimate.
One of them has precedence, and that’s Mary. Mary is where
we receive insight into the things God has placed inside of us.