In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus and His Disciples are traveling through a small village when His friend Martha welcomes Him into her home.
Martha joyfully whistles as she begins the preparations.
But quickly her mind turns dark as she starts to take her focus off Jesus and puts it on all the overwhelming tasks at hand.
Add to that her annoying sister who appears to have abandoned her in the kitchen and it becomes way too much to bear.
Martha’s heart becomes distracted.
The joyful event is now turning into a nightmare.
The Greek word for “distracted” used in verse 40 is “Parispao,” which means to “Draw away. Be driven about mentally. To be over-occupied about a thing.
There is nothing wrong with Martha being the busy hostess.
“Acts of Service” may be her love language.
But sometimes we can allow a legitimate or pressing ‘need’ trump our priorities and that’s where she finds herself.
Martha lets her mind get distracted and she forgets that her heart’s first desire is to abide with Jesus and enjoy Him.
As Martha’s frustrations grow, the Lord’s voice begins to fade as her own thoughts swirl unchecked in her mind.
Perhaps jealousy sets in as she presumes her sister is purposely rebelling against the culture of the day and sitting at Jesus’ feet as if she is one of His Disciples.
Desperation and anxiety start to set in.
She drops everything and marches straight into the living room and cries, “Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
Martha acknowledges Jesus as Lord but then rebukes Him.
The Lord responds kindly, “Martha, Martha! 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 NIV
It isn’t Martha’s busyness that the Lord is addressing.
She has taken her mind off the best thing and is now frustrated at everyone around her.
It is no longer about Jesus.
It is more about her own agenda.
Whenever it becomes all about us, we can become confused and frustrated!
We can start to place unfair expectations on others and even question our faithful Lord about His priorities.
But in His gentle way, Jesus doesn’t embarrass her in front of all her guests.
Instead He commends Mary’s choice to put Him first.
Jesus Himself seeks out His Father’s will with all His heart.
He never does anything that He didn’t first see His Father doing.
In John 5:19-20, He said “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son does also. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all He does.”
Jesus completely relied on the Holy Spirit to guide Him.
Mary pleases Jesus with her faith and worship.
She isn’t being lazy.
She is keeping her eyes on her Master and is ready to do whatever she sees Him doing.
She discerns in her spirit that at this moment, it is time for her to be still and just ‘listen’ to Jesus … to learn as His Disciple.
Jesus isn’t against preparing and eating food, but remember there’s a time for action and a time to listen … to just ‘be’ and know He is God.
We can join Him in His work and serve with Him and remain in His peace.
Now … we can be tempted to think that Mary is the more spiritual sister but that’s not true!
Martha is Jesus’ friend and a Believer.
In John 11:26, Jesus asks Martha “I Am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in Me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in Me and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this, Martha?” To which I can see her smiling as she replies in verse 27 “Yes, Lord! I have always believed that You are the Messiah, the Son of God, the One Who has come into the world from God.”
Another clue that Mary and Martha are both just ordinary girls with similar battles is found in Verse 39 where Luke writes: “She had a sister called Mary…”
She was ‘called’ Mary.
Which means it wasn’t her name right?
Nicknames often describe a person, their personality or character.
In Hebrew, the name Mary means ‘rebellious or bitter.’
Now isn’t that what we just witnessed in Martha?
We don’t know what Mary is bitter about but she is obviously finding relief for her soul in Jesus.
She chooses to ‘feed’ on Jesus and drink from His cup.
She has chosen the ‘best thing!’
Even if we are strong believers in Jesus Christ, we are always just a few thoughts away from losing our peace.
Let’s pray for each other today to keep our priorities straight and to make the right choices to keep the best thing first place in our hearts and minds.