Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:38-42 KJV)
There are always many choices: good choices, better choices, and godly choices in life. Some choices are naturally more desirable for man and others more appropriate as viewed through the eyes of a holy God. Mary and Martha both made a good choice in yearning to serve Jesus as He came to their town of Nazareth. They had all become close friends, Jesus, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. It was not every day Jesus came to visit, making it a special occasion, especially an honor for Martha who owned the house in which they were to meet.
Not every individual in God’s spiritual family is meant to serve God in the same exact way. God gives each of us discernment correlating with our unique talents and abilities making them all useful for serving God in a variety of ways as we work together to sow seeds and further His Gospel message. God painted a picture in His Word to describe the diversity of spiritual gifts found as different parts of one physical body working together, with God at the head, as all parts are important and necessary in gaining the desired end result as Jesus spoke of in Ephesians 4:16.
Not every person is gifted as a hostess and welcoming important guests into their house to further the gospel message. Martha was more than willing to have Jesus as a guest in her house. She fretted and fawned over having everything “just right” in preparation for this special guest. This was not necessarily a bad thing, in fact it was her way of honoring His visit with special care. Think of the preparations and refreshments you might consider in the event Jesus was on His way to your house for a visit.
Mary, on the other hand, was also excited to have Jesus as a house guest in her sister’s house. She was willing to come and to help prepare for this special event. However, her idea of crucial preparation varied from her sister Martha’s plans. From the moment Jesus entered into her house Mary was found resting at His feet, drinking in His teachings and precepts, without any other care or concern getting in the way of listening to everything Jesus had to say.
Martha welcomed Jesus into her house and began to make sure all the preparations and refreshments were offered to her guests and that everyone else was comfortable and enjoying the moment at hand with Jesus. Martha became quite perturbed with her sister Mary, who was lounging at the feet of Jesus without any concern for helping her with these crucial hostess functions.
Martha brought this situation with her sister to the attention of Christ sure He would “take her side” saying:
But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: (Luke 10:40-41 KJV)
Jesus knows us from inside out. He knew that Martha was beside herself with needless concern, anxiety, and “busyness” making sure all the needs of her special guest and the others gathered were all taken care and losing sight of what was most important.
Sometimes what Jesus desires from us more than anything is that we listen to His Words and take the necessary time to rest at His feet and languish in and spiritually soak up the precious words He has for us. Maybe He even left out a sigh as he spoke to Martha in a quiet mannered reproach:
And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: (Luke 10:41 KJV)
Jesus understood Martha had a big heart for serving and taking care of the needs of others in her midst. Especially for taking care of Him her special guest this day. Jesus knew that Martha was easily sidetracked by the here and now losing focus upon things having an eternal value.
Ask yourself, how often do I get involved in the needs and cares of this world and place things of an eternal nature on the “back burner” in life? It is quite common for all of us to lose our focus on what exactly is important as we sojourn in this world keeping ourselves busy and occupied by serving others rather than serving the eternal desires of Christ.
Jesus told Martha in a quiet and gentle manner:
But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:42 KJV)
This is a spiritual lesson many people, including myself, need to take to heart and learn from. Often we get tied up in “doing” worldly things we can easily see in our immediate surroundings, easily losing our view of spiritual things Jesus desires we pay closer attention to. The cares and concerns of this world often “speak” loudly to us and we allow them to drown out the voice of Jesus calling out to us and directing our life from His perfect view from sitting at the right hand of God in the heavenly realm.
Are you, like Martha, mishandling precious time available for sitting in peace at the feet of Jesus by taking care of earthly concerns which will soon fade away? Or are you more like Mary, who chooses to rest at Jesus’s feet in available moment drinking in precious eternal spiritual lessons of life?