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Luke 10: 38-42
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.
This story is familiar to some of us who feed upon God’s Word daily. It reveals several things which we should pay attention to. Jesus is at the home of his dear friend, Lazarus, and proceeds to share the Word of God with those who were gathered there. Lazarus had two sisters, Martha and Mary. Mary was the younger of the two, and while they had guests, and Martha was busy doing her best to feed and care for the Master, His disciples, and those who were present, Mary preferred to sit at His feet, and hear His words.
Martha was not comfortable with what Mary was doing at all. After all, they had guests. It was their responsibility to take care of Jesus and those who were with Him. They had to prepare food, and serve. Mary should have been helping, not sitting down, doing “nothing.” Was she doing nothing? The Scriptures teach otherwise. The Bible says she sat at His feet and heard His word. This is not “doing nothing.” It is perhaps doing one of the greatest things that any of us can do. Jesus Himself revealed this when Martha began to make her complaint regarding her sister’s seeming non-caring behavior. She said, “Master, make Mary come and help me!” Of course, what Martha was doing was important. After all, they had the Master Himself, the Son of the Living God, the Messiah in their home. He came to their house, along with His followers.
It was only right that they ensure the Master ate, and was comfortable. Why was Mary just sitting there? She should have known better. What was she thinking? Martha really thought she was so wrong for just sitting there as if there was nothing to do. Jesus answered Martha in a manner that causes every sincere believer to think. He said in essence, “Martha, Martha. You are so busy – just busy, busy, busy. But right now, only one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the better part.”
Now, I don’t know what Martha thought about the Master’s response. However, if she had been from my Nation, she may have wondered, “What in the world does He mean by saying that my sister has chosen the better part? The better part to what? What is He comparing us to? I am doing all the work. I am cooking and preparing the meals. I am ensuring that He and His company are well taken care of. My sister is doing nothing, absolutely nothing. What does He mean when He says that she has chosen that better part which shall not be taken away from her?”
I believe that many of us have not meditated upon this passage of Scripture to see what Jesus was saying either. What Martha was doing was important. It was necessary. More than that, it was expected. They had guests. And if you have guests, it is your duty, your responsibility to take care of your guests, right?
What was Jesus saying when He said that Mary had chosen “that better part” and it would not be taken from her? What was she doing anyhow? She was, “sitting at His feet, hearing His Word.” Why was this better than what Martha was doing? Why was this of greater importance? I firmly believe that we have yet to grasp the preciousness of time spent with Jesus. Think about it. He is the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, by Whose Word the entire universe is upheld. He is the Word of God incarnated, the One Who is before all things, and by Whom all things consist and exist. He is the first and the last, the beginning and the end. He is the One Who feed over five thousand at one time, and over four thousand the next. Food in the Master’s hands could have been provided and multiplied with effortless ease. There was not a food problem. He had proven that. The one thing that Martha was missing was that the Master would not be staying there for long. Every word He was speaking was priceless. He was giving forth the very Word of the Living God, and while she was so busy trying to serve food, which could have waited, Mary chose instead to sit in the Presence of God and soak up what He had to say knowing that His Word is life eternal.
Do we value our time with the Master? Is it a priority to us? If Jesus was to visit our homes, would we be busy moving around, trying to get food or lounging together while He was teaching? While those things are important, would we realize Who was in our midst, and how much more important it was that we sit in His Presence and hear His Words? Is His Presence our priority? Jesus never said that what Martha was doing was not important. Instead, He attempted to show her that by making Him, and hearing His Word the priority, everything else would have fallen into place in its proper time. May we too grasp the importance of spending time with Jesus on a daily basis. He lives within us, so He is always near. Spend time with Him first. Feed upon His Word and pray. Begin your day like this. All of the other important things will then fall in their proper place.
Dear Father God, forgive us for whenever we did not make time with You our top priority. We may have thought other things were too pressing, too demanding upon us. But what is more important than spending time with You, the Rock of our Strength? You can grant us wisdom, understanding, and favor to handle whatever we have to deal with. You, as our Shepherd, can ensure that we are able to overcome whatever obstacles we may face along this journey called life. So, teach us to honor You by placing You first every day. Only then will we have things in their proper place. In Jesus Name we pray, and give You thanks. Amen