Beware of Many Lawful Things: A Word of Warning from J. C. Ryle

This morning we considered the lives of Martha and Mary. While silent, Mary gives the world a beautiful example of how we ought to respond to Christ. Simultaneously, Martha supplies us a counter-example of what happens when busy Christians get distracted by many good things instead of seeking the one thing that is needful.

On this subject, J. C. Ryle’s words are especially appropriate.

The fault of Martha should be a perpetual warning to all Christians.  If we desire to grow in grace, and to enjoy soul-prosperity, we must beware of the cares of this world.  Except we watch and pray, they will insensibly eat up our spirituality, and bring leanness to our souls. It is not open sin, or flagrant breaches of God’s commandments alone, which lead men to eternal ruin.  It is far more frequently an excessive attention to things in themselves lawful, and the being ‘cumbered about much serving.’  It seems so right to provide for our own!  It seems so proper to attend to the duties of our station!  It is just here that our danger lies.  Our families, our businesses, our daily callings, our household affairs, our intercourse with society, all, all may become snares to our hearts and may draw us away from God.  We may go down to the pit of hell from the very midst of lawful things (J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Lukevol. 1, 386)

May we who feel the effects of distraction and busyness, repent and return to Christ, the only one who is really necessary.

Soli Deo Gloria, dss

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