I don’t know about you, but I can identify with Martha more easily than I can identify with Mary. I am a Martha by nature. Because my spiritual gift is the gift of service, I see things that need to be done and feel compelled to do them. My daughter is much more like Mary and I admire that quality in her. Mary really understood what was important, so she sat at the feet of Jesus to soak up everything that He had to say.
In Luke 10, we find that Jesus stopped at the home of Martha as He was traveling. Martha was concerned about the preparations to feed Jesus and those who were with Him. She asked Jesus to get Mary to help her, but Jesus’ response was not what she expected as is recorded below.
But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:41-42
I don’t think our Lord meant that what Martha was doing didn’t have value; I think He wanted her to realize how important the spiritual part of her life was and that she needed to give it priority. I get caught up in making sure that my house is clean, the laundry is done and that whatever I need to do to help others takes priority. It is much harder for me to sit at the feet of Jesus and soak up what He is saying.
One scripture that the Lord keeps bringing me back to is the first part of Psalm 46:10. I like the ESV translation best:
Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 ESV
I’m not sure why it is so difficult for me to be still, but it is.
Martha was busy making sure that everyone was taken care of and that food was prepared for her guests. Her focus was not much different from that of the disciples in the story of the woman at the well in John 4:31, we find the disciples urging Jesus to eat and His response to them was not what they expected.
I have food to eat that you do not know about. John 4:32
The disciples took this literally and thought that someone else had brought Him food while they were in town. Jesus was not talking about physical food. He was talking about spiritual food; His Father’s Word. I think this was the same message He was speaking to Martha in John 10.
It is quite necessary for us to care for physical needs. However, our Lord wants us to see that the spiritual needs are really more important; our physical bodies will die, but our spirits will live on for eternity. We need to be sure we are adequately caring for our spiritual needs, and this requires stillness before God and a focus on His Word. We need to be still so we can hear what He has to say to us. If we are constantly busy with the cares of this world, we may miss something important that He wants us to hear.
About the Writer:
Anna is a mother to three grown children, Nana to four grandchildren and enjoys coordinating Prison Ministry for her church. Her desire is to finish this life well by pointing others to faith in Jesus Christ and to a deeper reliance on Him.