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Quality Time

Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.

Luke 10:42
Quality Time Book Cover

sprinkle your friends with salt

Samin Nosrat, an Iranian-American chef living in California’s Bay area, turned her cookbook, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, into a four-part Netflix special in which she travels to Italy, Japan, and Mexico to teach viewers about the basic elements that make food delicious. Nosrat coaxes the personalities out of her guests as nimbly as she does the flavor of short ribs with a hearty sprinkling of salt. From spicy tacos to Iranian crispy rice, Nosrat satiates both palates and people because of her generous investment of attention, respect, and time.

back-burner fretting

In our scripture passage for today, we find friends gathering for a meal. Mary chooses to curl at the honored guest’s feet, while Martha cooks up a biblical storm in the kitchen. Can’t we picture her? Giving Mary side-eye, clanking utensils, banging pots in a passive- aggressive attempt to guilt her sister into joining her frenzied meal preparation. Finally, her bitterness bubbles over: “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me,” she says, wiping sweat from her forehead, frantic and exasperated.

But Jesus doesn’t. Instead, he gently tells her that Mary’s choice is better. He affirms her decision to spend quality time with him over checking boxes and becoming resentful of others in the process.

front-burner friendships

Where would we have chosen to be? In the kitchen, or in the living room? Jesus’ gentle rebuke to Martha addressed not her busyness, but her bitterness as a result of her busyness. The time we neglect to spend—or the time we invest—with God directly sours or seasons the time we spend with friends. Fellowship always follows faith. Members of the early church knew this: “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people.”

When life cranks up the heat, we may be tempted to put our friendships on the back burner. But that is just the time when we need time. Time to pull up a chair and listen. To take a walk, book a trip, make a FaceTime call, grab a cup of coffee, schedule an early-morning run. In whatever way we enjoy connecting with our friends, we must do it. Our fellowship reflects our faith.

“The sun looks down on nothing half so good as a household laughing together over a meal, or two friends talking over a pint.” Time adds depth of flavor to our friendships— making them ones to simmer and savor.


Leader Guide


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The Unique Ministry of Friendship

Daily Question

When was the last time you lingered over a meal with friends? What are two ways you can spend time with your closest friends this week?

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Comments (2)

With COVID part of our lives now, my usual work and volunteer activities, which were always a great way to spend time with friends, have gone by the wayside, at least in person. But, having lunches with friends and Zoom bible study and phone calls sure have not. In fact, I make it a point, for my mental health, and to keep others from being lonely, to plan things with others several times a week. And, I’ve become wonderfully closer to my sister, who lives just a few towns away. I consider God to be my great friend, as well, and take time each day with Bible study and prayer. In that respect, COVID has been a great blessing, because before Mike died, and before the pandemic, I didn’t make so much time for any of this. As the saying goes, when God closes one door, He opens another.

I think I do this well. But I want to be better at making time for my friends to tell me how they’re really doing, and act on it.

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