38. Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
40. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
41. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42. But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Luke 10:38-42 KJV
How many times do we take time away from the cares of this world? Sometimes we physically need to remove ourselves in order to realise just how engrossed we are in this realm. The thing about being a Mary is that we need to spiritually and emotionally remove ourselves as well… there will always be things to do, groceries to buy, a house to clean, laundry to be folded, and dinner to be made. Those things will never go away. The secret to being a Mary is knowing that being at the feet of Jesus is worth losing a little bit of time for other things. Mary knew that surrendering to her hunger for His Word was more important than taking bread out of the oven.
I love the mental picture I get when I read their story: the peaceful Mary soaking up all the Master has to say while in the background we can see a flustered Martha anxiously banging pots and pans while trying to get dinner on the table. Finally Martha is just so fed up that she asks Jesus to tell Mary to go and help her! She doesn’t address her own sister at all… she knows who the Master is yet she is too overwhelmed with stress to take a minute for him. I love the perspective of sisters here! Martha doesn’t even ask Mary for help at all.. she knows it would be futile! Once her sister has made up get mind, then no one can change it except Jesus! Martha knew that Mary would only listen to Jesus! Wow.
From the moment we wake up, our mind kicks into Martha mode! Gotta make coffee, gotta pack lunch, need to send that email out, the kids need to be dressed.. gotta, gotta, gotta, need, need need! By the time we get into the car, we’re so flustered that we completely forget to be a Mary at the feet of Jesus. We’re banging pots and pans so loudly that we can’t even hear him speak. We take just enough of a break to ask Jesus to send someone to help us. To Martha’s dismay, He doesn’t send her help… He tells her that what she needs is to surrender and just take a minute at His feet. That she is troubled with many cares.
You see, if Jesus were to send Mary to help her, then both of them would have been flustered, weary, and stressed. They would have been banging pots and pans together while Jesus would have sat alone, forgotten, in a beautifully clean yet empty room… He didn’t go to the sisters’ house to be a guest; He went to be a friend! A guest quietly observes while a friend reaches out a hand and helps where most needed.
“Well, why couldn’t they all help and make dinner then sit down together?” They could have, and it would have been very efficient and well-thought out yet something would be lacking. The lesson in that would have been that you can give Jesus the leftover time you have after you have finished getting the kids to school, cleaning the house, and shopping for groceries. But by then, it would be too late! Jesus wants to be in the midst of your cares so He can pull you away from the stress and worry. He wants you to know that He is worth more than your schedule! He created time and He is definitely not worried about wasting yours. Being a Mary in a Martha world is not easy! To Martha it looks like we’re being lazy and shirking our responsibilities! Yet Jesus looks at Mary as a hungering and thirsting soul seeking to be fed with the Bread of Life. Nothing in this world could tear her apart from getting that!
Don’t be afraid to be a Mary! Put down those pots, that email can wait, the unfolded socks won’t sprout legs and walk away, gave no fear. Now, start reaching out to Jesus with worship and praise rather than an agitated, “send Mary to help me, Lord! Can’t You see she’s being lazy?” And He tells her that Mary has chosen a better way and she won’t be sent away from His feet. I can only imagine how shocked Martha must have been at hearing the Master say that! That’s exactly what we need sometimes, to be shocked into a better part with Jesus.
“But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”