In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength. Isaiah 30:15
Those of you who visited the Kid’s Corner last time will remember that we looked at a man who befriended a servant of the Lord in great need. When Ebed-Melech used his influence with his king and spoke up for Jeremiah, God used him to save the prophet from dying in prison. We saw that speaking up at the right time in the right way is very wise and important in the Lord’s service.
Sometimes, however, being quiet is the very best thing a Christian can do. Some of you may feel you are told to be quiet and to sit still too often. Does this happen when you are in the Lord’s house in Sunday school or in a worship service? Perhaps you are thinking of someone you know who is naturally quiet, someone who rarely says anything, stays in the background, and is hardly noticed. Quiet persons can be overlooked, or worse still, may even be viewed as weak. We may mistakenly think that they have nothing interesting to say or they would say it!
But the story of two sisters, Mary and Martha, in Luke 10:38–42 puts being still and quiet in a very different light. It may be Jesus’ most famous account of dealing with a quiet person. Jesus teaches here that sitting quietly at His feet is “needful” (verse 42). In doing so Mary was accomplishing two things—listening and thinking. Verse 39 says she “heard his word.” Mary was paying close attention so she wouldn’t miss anything Jesus said. She was going to remember what He said because she was thinking about it. Jesus knew what was really going on. He sensed the interest and respect Mary had for His words. At the close of the chapter he praised her for choosing “that good part.”
Earlier in the book of Luke, we see another Mary responding quietly and thoughtfully to the Word of God. When she hears that she has been chosen to give birth to the Saviour (Luke 2:19) she keeps what she hears in her heart. Other than praising the Lord with her cousin Elizabeth—who was also expecting a baby—it doesn’t appear she shared everything the angel had told her with anyone else. A few years later, after her growing Son reminded her He had come to serve His heavenly Father—it says she “kept all these sayings in her heart” (Luke 2:51).
Do you pay attention to God’s Word when you hear it? Do you ever think about it the way the two Marys did? You don’t have to be a naturally quiet person to do so. You just need to take the time to be like one sometimes. We live in a very loud world that cries constantly for our attention, and we find it hard not to give in to its temptations. By choosing to be quiet and attentive whenever the Word of God is taught, we won’t miss His instruction and His promises. And like the two Marys, we’ll find that stopping to hear the Lord’s voice will strengthen our faith and bless our souls.