Oh, how many times have I heard the story of Mary and Martha and how Mary “sat at Jesus’ feet” and Martha “busied herself with dinner preparations”. Well, this morning I was to hear it again when, as a part of our daily Bible readings, my husband and I read Luke 10: 38-42 together.
“As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Today as we finished reading it I said to my husband, “Why didn’t Jesus simply speak the dinner into being and then have Martha join Mary at His feet?” I had never thought of that before. Now that I have had time to think about it there were probably many reasons He did not do so, but I think it funny that I had never even considered the question before. It just goes to show you that you can never hear a Bible story too many times.
I chuckle when I say that because I can remember my second son when he was about 7 years old saying He didn’t need to go to Christmas Eve service because he had already heard that story many times and he knew it by heart. He even told me I could quiz him if I wanted to. I had an opportunity to talk to him about worship and how church can be a special time with Jesus. I talked to him about how he could talk with Jesus about things just he and Jesus knew and have a special quiet time together. Later in his college years when we were at the altar praying together he said to me, “Mom, you really like this stuff, don’t you? You ‘get off’ on this.” He was referring to our time of worship and prayer. I simply said, “Yes, I do.” and we continued to pray.
Mary was made to worship. It consumed her. Martha was made to worship, too, but she was also concerned with the everyday and getting done what needed to be done. I struggle with this. Is one better than the other? Jesus praised Mary. He rebuked Martha, but He didn’t rebuke her for doing the tasks, He rebuked her for worrying that the tasks would not get done. I can imagine Jesus thinking, “Martha, if you would just sit down here with us for a bit, we’ll all help you get dinner on the table.” OR, Consider this, if Martha had been singing as she was preparing dinner, making her preparations as onto the Lord (which they were, literally), perhaps Jesus would have accepted Martha’s joyful preparations as worship. He only spoke to her after she asked Him if He didn’t think Mary ought to help her. Then, she got what He thought! Some of us are wired to get tasks done first. For some of us relationship trumps tasks every time. Jesus says, “Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and everything else will come.” Matthew 6:33. I think we all find different ways to put Him first, ways that fit the way we were created. Jesus accepts us as we are. What He won’t accept is our judging another’s way. Ouch!
Now is the time to worship,