As Jesus and the disciples continued on their journey, they came to a village where a woman welcomed Jesus into her home. Her name was Martha and she had a sister named Mary. Mary sat down attentively before the Master, absorbing every revelation he shared. But Martha became exasperated while finishing the numerous household chores in preparation for her guests, so she interrupted Jesus and said, “Lord, don’t you think it’s unfair that my sister left me to do all the work by myself? You should tell her to get up and help me.”
I can almost hear Jesus sigh as he looks at his friend Martha, frazzled, trying so hard to get a great meal together for Jesus, and her sister doing NOTHING but sitting at Jesus’ feet.
The Lord answered her, “Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these distractions? Are they really that important? Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing the most beautiful place of sitting at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her,” Luke 10:38-42 (The Passion Translation).
There is a great lesson in this story of which we need to continually remind ourselves. As we read about Martha, we get the description loud and clear. She is the organized, hard-working, detailed sister. In her heart and mind she is doing the right thing by preparing the best meal she can for Jesus and his disciples. But serving this crew leads her to busyness, distraction, and exasperation. Mary, on the other, sits quietly listening at Jesus’ feet, seemingly oblivious to Martha’s frustrations with her. And Jesus rewards her actions by telling everyone that she has “chosen correctly.”
As women, we read this story and identify with either the Martha personality or the Mary personality. And in the back of our mind, we realize that if we identify with Martha more than Mary, we are prioritizing incorrectly.
Let me suggest an alternative. Let’s look at the heart and objective of Jesus and each of the women and look at the story through this lens:
Jesus brings absolute love and commitment into our relationship with him. “I love each of you with the same love that the Father loves me. Let my love nourish your hearts,” John 15:9 (TPT).
We never have to worry about Jesus’ side of the relationship. He always brings 100% commitment. He chose us, and that will never change. It’s as if he’s saying, “You don’t have to worry about my side of us.”
What could Martha have done to bring 100% commitment to her relationship with Jesus? Her first response to guests was to make her home hospitable and serve them a warm meal. And I bet Jesus and the disciples appreciated the food and fellowship with friends. During her preparations, though, Martha’s heart was distracted and her emotions were frustrated.
How would the scene have been different if Martha had paid attention to what Jesus was saying as she served? Can we actually work hard at our job and duties of the day and still choose the “best part” by having open ears and heart toward the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us all day long?
YES, we can.
If you’re more of a Martha, a 100% commitment to your relationship with Jesus is when you can honestly say, “Jesus, you don’t have to worry about my half of us. I am in tune to your voice and direction in my life. I am keeping the distractions and frustrations in check.”
Or maybe today, like Mary, you don’t have a lot of responsibilities and you get to choose your own schedule. Does it make you more holy and acceptable if you sit and read your Bible all day?
NO, it doesn’t.
What matters is where your heart lies and what your ears are attuned to.
If you’re more of a Mary, a 100% commitment to your relationship with Jesus is when you can honestly say, “Jesus, you don’t have to worry about my half of us. As I plan the details of today, your voice and direction for my life will be at the forefront.”
Jesus is calling us to discover the most important thing, choosing the most beautiful place, sitting at his feet. Whether you’re day is filled with responsibilities or a schedule of your own choosing, give your relationship with Jesus 100%. You can count on his half of the relationship. Now fully bring your half.
Becky Meyerson is passionate about writing and teaching from the Word of God. Her heart is to see women flourish in every season of life. To encourage and empower women to live abundantly she writes free Bible reading plans, Bible studies, blogs and speaks on healthy thinking, identity, and purpose. www.beckymeyerson.com
I like the thought that it is not that Martha was busy, it was that she was not focused on the Lord. Our attitude is so important in the midst of our busy schedules. Thanks for this new way of looking at this event.
Thanks Jane! I tend to be more like Martha – busy and detailed. It was a good reminder to keep my focus and attention on the Lord even in the busiest moments.