Two extraordinary women, Martha and Mary were always together in scripture. They lived with their brother Lazarus in a small village named Bethany, which was in easy walking distance from Jerusalem.
Martha and Mary were different in a lot of ways, yet alike in the fact…they both loved Christ. Just like with all the women we have studied, Christ was their focus! Mary and Martha became cherished friends of Jesus during his ministry on earth. He also loved their families (John 11:5)
No one knows how this particular family became so intimate with Jesus. But Jesus often made himself at home in their house.
Martha was always portrayed as a meticulous hostess. Even her name is the feminine form of the Aramaic word for “Lord” She truly presided over her home. Her name was often listed first, suggesting she may have been the oldest sister
One particular day, Jesus and his disciples stopped at the house of Martha and Mary and Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to his words. Martha, meanwhile, was distracted with preparing and serving the meal for the group.
Frustrated, Martha scolded Jesus, asking him whether he cared that her sister had left her to fix the meal alone. She told Jesus to order Mary to help her with the preparations.
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “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 10:41-42)
For centuries people in the church have puzzled over the Martha and Mary story, knowing that someone has to do the work. The point of this passage, however, is making Jesus and his word our first priority.
If all 12 of the disciples were there, Martha had reason to feel fixing the meal was a major job. Like many of us, Martha probably became anxious over taking care of her guests.
Many folks compare Martha to Peter: practical, impulsive, and short-tempered to the point of rebuking the Lord himself. Mary is more like John: reflective, loving, and calm. Some of us tend to be more like Mary in our Christian walk, while others resemble Martha. It’s likely we have qualities of both within us. We may be inclined at times to let our busy lives of service distract us from spending time with Jesus and listening to his word. It’s significant to note, though, that Jesus gently admonished Martha for being “worried and upset,” not for serving. Service is a good thing, but sitting at Jesus’ feet is best. We must remember what is most important
Good works should flow from a Christ-centered life; they do not produce a Christ-centered life. When we give Jesus the attention he deserves, he empowers us to serve others.
Surely, God knows and understands everything. But this story is a reminder that we need to set our priorities right. Our first and foremost choice must be our daily quiet time with God, everything else can come after that. Everything else can wait. This is not some legalistic thing that we need to follow. But we need to do so because it is a “better choice”.
Time spent at the feet of Jesus is never wasted time. It is an incredibly invested time. It is my own personal experience, when I allocate time with the Lord from my busy schedule, Lord always returns back even more time. All of sudden, I seem to have that little extra time for other chores. The clock seems to be ticking little slower! The problems or issues that I am working on, gets fixed quickly. It might just be my perception or a coincidence, but I have noticed that more time I spend with God, more of these coincidences happen! Jesus emphasized the similar approach in Matthew 6:33.
“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Questions for Reflection:
Do I have my priorities in order? Am I worried or anxious about many things, or am I focused on Jesus? Have I put devotion to Christ and his word first, or am I more concerned about doing good deeds?
Think about where the bulk of your time lies today…
Excerpts taken from 12 Extraordinary Women, James Macarthur