As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 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!”
“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: 38 – 42)
Nobody likes a lazy person! Imagine a family preparing for a holiday or party or some event and somebody is not pulling their weight. Or a co-worker who doesn’t do their fair share of the work.
Even the Bible doesn’t like laziness – especially the book of Proverbs.
“How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?” (Prov 6: 9)
However, most would agree that Mary in this story is not being lazy, rather she has simply chosen to sit at the Lord’s feet instead of helping her sister.
Let’s have a look at Martha. Luke tells us she was distracted, and Jesus describes her as worried and upset. Putting those adjectives together she sounds like quite the stressed person. Busy. Rushing around. Letting things get to her. Wound up like a tight spring.
She doesn’t sound very spiritual to me.
But if we meet Martha in other stories, we get a different view. In John 12: 2, we see Martha taking care of her guests’ needs. Her heart is to serve. And going back a chapter just prior to the resurrection of her brother Lazarus, we hear her string together one of the most incredible declarations about Jesus in the whole of the New Testament.
“I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11: 27)
Martha is deeply spiritual, and like any Godly person, she loves to serve others.
So, what’s going on? If we go back to Luke 10, we discover that the events are taking place in Martha’s home. As the homeowner or head of the household, she feels the pressure of opening her home, making everybody feel welcome, and making sure all the food is prepared.
Martha sees the work that needs to be done and she wants to be a good host. We know from the other stories in John that she loves Jesus, but in that one moment, she fails to see the value of stopping and sitting at his feet.
“Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken from her.”
Even those who are Godly, even those who know their theology of who Jesus is and what the Scriptures teach, even those who live out their Christian lives in love and service to others can sometimes forget to see the value of stopping and sitting at Jesus’ feet.
Do you see the value of stopping and sitting at his feet?