Luke 10:38-42 New Living Translation (NLT)
Jesus Visits Martha and Mary
38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
I’ve heard teachings about Mary & Martha quite frankly, more than I’ve wanted to over the years…and each time I’ve come away ticked off! You see, I’m a doer. Always have been.
Since childhood, I’ve organized my dresser drawers by item and color and hung my clothes by seasons in my closet. My grandparents used to snicker at my “skills” when they came to visit and stay in my bedroom. When I got married, this “skill” was appreciated at first, but it quickly became a source of great contention between Doug and I. He was, how shall I say….more of a manly version of Mary. Except, instead of sitting at the feet of Jesus, he was sitting on the sofa in front of the tv watching college sports. That’s not to say that he didn’t do anything around the apartment- he did- but he certainly didn’t care how the sock drawer was arranged or if all the clutter was picked up and put away immediately. I was perfectly content playing the role of Martha…and occasionally reminding God that my husband should come help me!!! Then, we had our first child. After the 2nd one was born 18 months later, I was still able to take care of myself, my husband (or so I thought), 2 kids & the household…but then we suffered a miscarriage, I had emergency surgery and was confined to bed rest for a time. Needless to say- not everything got done according to MY specifications. I should have been getting the hint by then, don’t ya think? Uh….no.
We then had our 3rd child and from the moment of delivery (she was the only child born without any drugs administered to me!) I knew I was in for pain and suffering. We brought our bundle of joy home from the hospital and she screamed & vomited & failed to be comforted, or sleep for more than 4 months. The next few years of her life would bring about numerous Dr. visits and a diagnosis of autism. Then, if God didn’t get my attention with all that- He gave us a 4th child!!!! AHHHHHHH!!!
When morning sickness lasts all day and you vomit until you dry heave and go to bed, there isn’t much time or energy left to make sure the sock drawers of 6 people are neatly arranged- much less prepare a meal, do the laundry, nurse a baby, care for 3 children, change diapers, grocery shop, and have sex with your husband (yes, that IS important!).
What I finally realized over the years is that Jesus didn’t love Mary more than He did Martha. His Father had created them both with unique gifts and talents- in His image. The issue wasn’t that Martha was practicing her gift of hospitality, it was that she was distracted by what she was doing instead of focusing on why she was doing it. She also neglected to put first things first; making Jesus the priority.
The bible says we are supposed to do both; sit, rest, allow Jesus to pour into us….and do the work He’s called us to do- without being distracted by less important things, or complaining about it!
When the demands of life’s “to do’s” overwhelm and cause us to be angry, or blame others, we need to stop & sit at the feet of Jesus- and if necessary, repent. For He is the only One who brings life to the full and whom all of life’s details must flow out of…..