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. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But 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.”
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
I’ve heard this story a bazillion times but as I took a deeper look at it this time around I was amazed at what I saw.
I’ve always been sympathetic to Martha and have felt sorry that she got “picked on”. She was serving, ambitious, active . . . she wasn’t sitting around doing nothing (like someone else we know). Her work ethic was strong and there wasn’t an ounce of laziness in her.
Mary on the other hand is sitting, listening to Jesus and doing NOTHING. Was Mary always sitting around doing nothing? Was she a lazy person at heart? – I don’t think so, in fact I think Martha was used to having Mary help her and when she looked around expecting her to be peeling potatoes or setting the table Mary was nowhere to be found – well that is until she looked in on Jesus and saw her sitting with Him.
Martha is described as being distracted - distracted with the details of having company. She wants everything to be perfect for Jesus and his disciples. She is so caught up in doing things for Him that she forgets to be with Him.
Where was her focus? Was she focused on Jesus and her relationship with Him? Was her mind dwelling on His teachings? Where was her heart? How would you describe her faith? I think we could describe her faith as lukewarm, tepid and mediocre. She loved Jesus but had allowed the details to distract her from what was truly important! Jesus speaks of someone like her in Matthew 13:22 when he says, “The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life . . .”
Think about it, she was able to see Jesus face to face! She could watch His reaction to the questions He was asked. She could see Him laugh at a particularly funny joke from Peter. She could hear from His lips what God the Father was like and see the love in His eyes for her but instead she traded all of that in - to be distracted by the worries and cares of her life!
In contrast, where was Mary’s focus? How would you describe her faith? I would say it was blazing HOT. She knew nothing from this world could compare with spending time with her Lord. She took advantage of having Him face to face. Everything paled in comparison to being with Jesus. She would gladly choose hot dogs over a gourmet meal just so she could have more time with Him.
What kind of faith do you want – the lukewarm faith of Martha or the blazing hot faith of Mary! If you want the kind of faith that Mary had you won’t slip into it and it won’t happen by accident. It’s a choice you have to make each day to follow Jesus and to keep your eyes fixed on Him. Each day you must choose to follow Him or yourself, to surrender to His ways or your ways, to release your grip on this world and open your heart to Him.
What choice will you make today, tomorrow and the next . . .?