Luke 10:38-41, NCV
“While Jesus and his followers were traveling, Jesus went into a town. A woman named Martha let Jesus stay at her house. 39 Martha had a sister named Mary, who was sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to him teach. 40 But Martha was busy with all the work to be done. She went in and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me alone to do all the work? Tell her to help me.”
41 “But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things.
42 Only one thing is important. Mary has chosen the better thing, and it will never be taken away from her.”
My name is Martha and I’m Jesus’ friend. My home was one of His favorite places to stay–a refuge for Him whose life was so busy. I joyfully opened it for Him, and for His disciples. And when Jesus came I went all out, I wanted the best for Him and that meant there were always things to do. Is that really a bad thing?
The kitchen was verging on bedlam–lamb, cucumbers, figs, and so on. Roasting and slicing, and of course I had bread in the oven. All of this was requiring constant attention, and I remember not being able to keep up. To be honest, It was a bit much.
I wanted things to be perfect for Jesus.
I admit I took occasional peeks at Him, He was teaching in my living room after all. I just brought in some bowls of figs and raisins as an appetizer and guess what, I found my sister Mary sitting with the men listening to Jesus and asking questions. It was than I started to get a little ticked off.
I was really, really getting irritated with her.
There was so much to do and I didn’t have her help. The more I thought of Mary the more frustrated I got. I suspect she didn’t understand all that had to be done. All or her priorities were messed up–she simply didn’t understand her role as a hostess, and to sit with the men was terribly wrong.
She really didn’t understand her place.
Yes, I was having issues with my sister. It all came to a head when I had brought out another bowl of figs, and then I tried to graciously interrupt the Lord’s teaching. I wanted Him to tell her the place was with me in the kitchen. “Tell her to help me.”
Instead, it was Jesus who corrected me. I still remember Jesus’ words. And I honestly wasn’t expecting this..
“Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things.”
Was I really that transparent? Of course He understood, but it cut me to the quick. I had become another lesson to everyone present. I realize now that the real issue was with my attitude, and not with the work. Yes, I was bothered and upset but I know now that it’s those things that were the real problem.
“Only one thing is important. Mary has chosen the better thing, and it will never be taken away from her.”
I suddenly knew that He was right. Jesus was in my home, and all I could do was to get frustrated and angry. I thought my work would please Him, and after all, wasn’t really all that important? Didn’t He deserve my best efforts? Surely all my work meant something to Him?
My younger sister Mary was being praised. It seems she was becoming my example and I was being gently rebuked. but suddenly all I realized, and that all I was doing, all my work and my effort, really wasn’t what Jesus wanted. The problem wasn’t her problem, it was me all a long!
I only wanted to serve Him, but I guess that wasn’t what He really wanted.
To be sure all I was becoming far too critical and resentful of my sister Mary, and yet I had forgotten that my real place was at Jesus’ feet, listening and learning. That’s what Jesus really wanted, and somehow I had forgotten that. I had lost Him in all my busy-ness.
The work could wait, and now I understand that my true place was with Jesus.
“Martha’s frustration is typical of those who diligently serve with good intent, but forget to also sit at Jesus’ feet. “The Martha spirit says, if the work is done, is not that all? The Mary spirit asks whether Jesus is well pleased or not? All must be done in his name and by his Spirit, or nothing is done.”