If you have ever planned a wedding, you will know how easily the logistics can quickly take over all your time and headspace. The arrangement of the flowers, the order of service, the timing of the cake cutting – these finer details take our attention from the whole point of the whole day and distract us from the most important thing – to get married! What is really quite simple, becomes complicated. You can worry about many things, but really only one thing is needed – an exchange of vows!
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42.
Martha did nothing wrong in working hard. After all, it was all for Jesus and she was the one that had invited Him in! The problem was that she was so distracted, flustered and worried in the serving that she had actually forgotten about Jesus himself. She missed the point. Martha’s frustration with Mary is typical of people who diligently serve with good intent, but forget to also sit at Jesus’ feet. In their service, they become frustrated and resentful of those who don’t need to earn their approval from God.
In the context of the scripture, sitting at the feet of someone, was a position of learning. It was a position of intimacy and influence. Mary had chosen to just be with Jesus – to be in a place of intimacy, be influenced by Him, and learn from Him.
When Jesus said to Martha, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better...” Jesus is challenging all of us to reconsider why we do what we do for Him. Are we busy doing good things, but to the point where we are actually distracted from the very voice and influence of Jesus? Are working so hard to please Jesus, when really He just wants our attention? Is sitting at His feet the number one priority in our lives?
This parable can be an uncomfortable one for many of us, as keeping busy in service can be highly esteemed, but don’t let service for Jesus, ever take us FROM Jesus. Let intimacy with Jesus be our primary pursuit. Be careful not to let even good things distract you from the main point. Jesus. Have a Mary heart, in a Martha world!
Psalm 27:4 “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”
A daily devotion for a better way of living.