Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
– Luke 10:38-42
You may recall Martha and Mary. We read about these two sisters a little over a month ago when we reflected for a few days on how Jesus raised their brother Lazarus from the dead (John 11).
It wasn’t as if Mary loved the Lord more than Martha did. Both loved Him. Both were devoted to Him. Mary, however, was wiser in how she served Him.
Martha was “distracted with all her preparations.” We can easily picture her scurrying around, preparing meals, and doing all those things that go with having a house guest. As a result, she was “worried and bothered about so many things.”
One of those things that bothered Martha was that her sister Mary was “seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word.” In other words, Martha was annoyed that Mary was not pulling her weight.
Instead of telling Mary that she should be doing more of what her sister Martha was doing, Jesus essentially told Martha that she should be doing more of what her sister Mary was doing!
What was Mary doing? Sitting quietly and paying attention to the Lord’s instruction. She was not assuming that she knew what the Lord needed or wanted. After all, He’d fed thousands with a few loaves and fishes so it’s not like He was dependent on others for meals. Martha assumed she already knew how to serve the Lord; Mary didn’t.
Of all the things we do to serve the Lord, none is more important than giving lavish attention to what He says.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, thank You for the contrast between sisters in this story. Show me how I can give the proper amount of attention to Your teaching…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)