“Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.’ But the Lord answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.’” Luke 10:38-42
Are you easily bothered? Do you worry a lot? Do you occupy yourself with too many things? What about doing lots of “good things” such as serving? Have you ever considered whether you ‘serve too much’?
Martha was doing a good thing by serving. And Jesus Himself has called us to serve. But there are times when we can serve so much that our serving Him replaces us listening to and knowing Him. We can replace the best thing with good things — but that has potential to cause problems too.
Imagine your husband or wife serving you day in and day out. You tell your spouse, “Let’s spend time together! Let’s walk! Let’s talk!” Then your spouse says, “I’m sorry, but I have more serving to do for you. There are still rooms to clean, and I have to tell others about how great you are. I’m making a poster of you, a video, I’m a bit busy serving you, let’s hang out another time.”
If you love your spouse, that would hurt you! Would it cause some issues with your relationship? Of course.
This is not meant to discourage service. This is a call to balance. To put the priorities where they need to be. This is a call to sit at His feet. Jesus said He was called to serve. He dearly loved Martha and He loves us dearly too.
This is not meant to discourage service. This is a call to balance. To put the priorities where they need to be and sit at His feet
Martha was worried and bothered. “Don’t you care, Jesus? Don’t you see that I’m alone? Don’t you see there’s so much work to do and so little help?” These are all very good questions. How profound that He doesn’t answer each of those points — and yet He does answer them. Just not as we expect.
Don’t you see? Don’t you care? “Sit at my feet, Martha. Listen to me,” Jesus said. Yes, He sees you. Yes, He knows you. Yes, He cares for you. He wants our hearts.
In a child’s eyes, a problem can seem big and worrisome, yet that same problem is viewed as small and simple to the parent. How much more does God see our issues? The parent says, “Come close, let me hold you. Trust me. It’ll be okay!” The parent just wants to hold the child and love him or her. How much more does God?
All problems are easy to God. This does not take away our responsibility if we have a problem. Hard conversations happen, hard work also happens in life, but they help us understand more of God’s heart.
What do you imagine Jesus’ attitude to be towards Martha in this? I don’t believe He was annoyed or had some negative tone towards Martha. I believe it was in compassion and love. It was with grace. Trust God to care for you. Sit at His feet. He knows your needs.
We can be a Mary who chose the better portion. It’s a free invitation for us too. How do we do so? By prayer, reading and meditating on His Word, and drawing on other spiritual resources from our brothers and sisters in God. Simply being with Jesus, whether alone or with others, would help too.
Are you worried and bothered? Are you distracted or too busy? Spend time at His feet! Jesus is worth every minute.
A weekly brief of new resources and Scripture-based insights from our editorial team.