Thoughts From the Pews

by Charlotte Goodrum

When we sit in church during worship services, we intend to listen to our pastor’s sermon. We want to learn more about God so we can grow in our relationship with him. We also listen intently because, when the pastor tells a joke, we do not want to be the only person not laughing, a definite sign that we are not listening. However, sometimes the pastor’s sermon triggers something in our subconscious that directs our thoughts away from the sermon. 

“What it means to live a life where we are in conversation with God…Prayer can simply be defined as a conversation with God…God is more interested in our attention than our activity,” my pastor said.

Hearing this statement about attention, I leaned forward in an effort to focus on my pastor’s words.

“So Jesus arrives, in Luke chapter ten, the end of Luke chapter ten verse thirty-eight, Jesus arrives at a household of friends of His…Luke chapter ten verse thirty-eight says ‘While they were traveling…a woman named Martha welcomed them into her house…she had a sister named Mary who sat at the Lord’s feet...and was listening to what He said.’”

Listening to what He said should have triggered something in my brain that I need to listen and not allow my thoughts to stray.

“But Martha was distracted by many tasks, and she came up and asked, ‘Lord don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone...the Lord answered her…”

Oh my stars in heaven, I left wet clothes in the washing machine last night, now they are going to stink, I’ll have to wash them again before I can put them in the dryer, oh and as usual I left dirty dishes in the sink, I wonder where we are having lunch today.

“You are worried and upset about many things.”

 Darn tootin I’m upset, I’m trying to lower my cholesterol and what did I do, I made scrambled eggs again this morning with all the yokes. I’m supposed to leave out one of the yokes, how in the world will I complete my homework assignments by Tuesday when, yay only two more months and another semester is over and over I’m constantly saying we need to”

“Calm you down for just a second…”

I asked Alan to help me calm down by saying, breathe Charlotte, breathe. He hasn’t tried it yet, I think he’s afraid to.

“The priority of the moment is making sure that dinner is prepared…”

Ah, dinner, what will we do for dinner, maybe we will have leftovers from, my appointment I forgot to call to make…”

“Jesus travels in an…”

Wow, this summer we will be traveling, God willing, for a month.

“They are all piled into a house…”

Oh my goodness, I need to remember to ask Peter’s mom if it’s okay for him to watch our house while we are…

“Attempting to re-focus those concerns…”

I’m really concerned about our country, I hope we still have one when…”

“Our service, our activity ought to come out of our attentiveness…”

 Oh, pay attention Charlotte, pay attention, you are missing the sermon, you’re going to miss the joke then everyone will know you are not listening.

 “But Mary has chosen to sit at the feet...”

 I wonder how many people have tender feet as I have, most women love buying shoes, but I cry almost every, time I eat just one piece of cake I gain five pounds, why is it that…

 “God created the church as a place to hear his word.”

 I’m trying to listen to you, God, I really am, okay focus, focus, mind stop…

 “Listening to God…”

 No, no, no, don’t stop listening to God, what’s wrong with me…

 “He is probably communicating and conversing with God…so that we can sit at the feet of Jesus and hear what He has to say.”

 No, I’m not, not right now, I trying to listen to…

 “The apostle James will say…”

 I guess your metabolism slows down when you get older, that’s why I’m having trouble…

 “Please tell her to get up and give me a...”

 Another piece of cake, no, no, not cake.

 “There’s one thing that’s necessary…”

 No, cake is the one thing that is only necessary if you want to gain weight.

 “Talk about being listeners, before we talk about being...”

 Human, its human nature to be distracted, right? Martha was distracted.

 “One priority of prayer is the expression of our needs, our desires…”

 Cake is not a need, it might be a desire, oh how I wish I did not like sweets. What a sweet child I saw this morning, loving and kissing his little sister as they went their separate ways to Sunday School, I will be so happy when I’m finished with school, God thank you for the blessing of continuing my education, I’m just ready to…

 “You’re either sitting in a seat listening to me teach this passage of scripture or you’re listening to it on our podcast…”

 I’m trying to listen, I promise, I’m trying really hard to listen.

 “But then we might get together in some other point in time and sit down over a cup of coffee…”

 Coffee, I could use a cup of coffee about now.

 “Or either it becomes a one way conversation again, but I become the listener. The problem with most of us in our prayer lives is we have made God always the listener.”

 Yes and poor God has to listen to me a lot. Sometimes I pitch a fit because Beth Moore said if you’re going to pitch a fit you need to do it with God because He already knows what you are going to say.

 “And that’s why Mary had chosen the right direction.”

 What? Mary wasn’t pitching a fit, maybe Martha was but not Mary.

 “Martha, I’m not going to take this away from her, because she wants to hear what I have to say. Which is one of the reasons quite honestly why people think we are so obsessed with…”

 My monkey sweater, I finally got my monkey sweater, just in time for vacation. Well, that hurt, I wonder if I can break my neck turning like that, can you break your own neck, I don’t know if that could happen.

 If we are honest with ourselves, most of us can probably admit we are more like Martha than Mary. However, those of us who are like Martha can practice our listening skills and perhaps eventually…

 Did I forget to turn the crock-pot on low, oh heavens to Betsy bugs, I hope not, all I need is to drive up to the house to see flames shooting out the kitchen window.

 “Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call, resting in my Savior as my all in all, standing on the promises of God.”

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