38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 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!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Martha and Mary offered hospitality to their friend Jesus. Martha is busy preparing the food while Mary sat listening to Jesus as he talked. Martha is grumpy that she’s left with all the work. Upset, Martha asks Jesus if He doesn’t care that she is doing all the work, she presumes to tell Jesus what to do. Jesus answers by saying she is distracted and worried by many things, but there is need of only one thing which Mary has chosen, Mary was letting Jesus tell her what to do.
Martha saying my sister has left me to do all the work, could suggest that Mary had previously joined Martha in caring for Jesus. Both sat before Jesus, though it appears that Martha felt that feeding Jesus was more important than waiting upon His word. I’m certain Martha loved Jesus and felt her service to Him came from what she felt was important. Mary was also breaking the rules of the time where study, listening at Jesus feet, was reserved for only males. Martha was not just asking for help, she was demanding that Mary keep to the traditional way of behaving. Martha thought serving was the right way to serve Jesus. Jesus wasn’t saying that Martha’s servant heart was unimportant. He was saying that being a disciple, learning His ways, is even more important.
Are there opposing forces pulling at our lives? How do we put the important things first? Are our acts of caring, responses of loving God and our neighbours? As I sit at the feet of Jesus, I pray I hear what the right priorities are for my life and those around me.
Written by Cathy Croft