January 3rd 2009

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village

where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.

She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.

But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.

She came to him and asked,

“Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?

Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered,

 “you are worried and upset about many things,

but only one thing is needed.

Mary has chosen what is better,

and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38‑42 NLT

We miss many blessings by being in a hurry!  Isaiah tells us, ‘Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him!’ (64:4). 

Often we are too busy to stop and gaze at a beautiful sunset, listen to the song of a bird, give a smile or a cheery word to others or to offer comfort to those who are hurting.

The old English word “tarry” is interesting. It really means to hang about, to be reluctant to depart, to linger. In the scripture above we could substitute “wait for” with “linger with”. The God who acts on behalf of those who linger with Him! Throughout the Bible we read about God’s “lingerers”—those who took time to linger in His presence and to wait on Him.

Mary of Bethany was also one who spent some time lingering at the feet of Jesus listening to His words, while Martha her sister missed it all by being in a rush to get dinner ready. Martha was “distracted” whereas “Mary”, said Jesus, “has chosen what is better”.

David was one of those who lingered with God. He spent time with Him and wrote many psalms of praise as a result. Moses is found lingering in the presence of God at a burning bush which attracted his attention as he fed his flock of sheep, and ended up leading Israel out of Egypt. The disciples lingered in Jerusalem and were filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

Rich blessings and benefits come from being a lingerer. In His perfect presence we become more like Him, and our trust in Him deepens. We are encouraged and strengthened to face daily trials and difficulties. We are filled with His radiance, showing those around us that there is something different in our lives.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” (Psalm 37:7).


Lord, may we always abide in your presence and rest in you. May we take time to learn from you every day and so find rest for our souls.


Study by Cliff Neill

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