Good vs. Better: Martha and Mary

Jesus had come into town and paid visit to Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary. We all know the story. As Jesus sat and taught to those in the house, Martha was in the kitchen keeping busy with cleaning and making sure everyone had what they needed.  Meanwhile, Mary sat at Jesus’ feet.  Martha got upset and asked Jesus to tell her sister Mary to help her. Jesus’s response to her was that while she was worried about so many other things, only one thing was necessary and that was His teaching.  Mary had made the right choice and she didn’t need to change.  Although Martha wasn’t necessarily wrong, Mary’s choice was better.

When you take a closer look:

  1. Martha opened her home, but Mary opened her heart. Although Lazarus was the head of the house and Mary was the depth of the house, Martha was the one who opened her home to Jesus. The “hands” of the house invited Him in. Her hospitality drew Him there. Yet He wanted her heart more than her home.
  2. Distraction is the noble person’s biggest hindrance to listening. Martha wasn’t ignoring Jesus, but she was distracted by all the other things that she felt like she needed to do.
  3. Martha forgot to keep the “pre” in preparation. The preparations Martha was making were important.  She made sure that Christ was served appropriately and probably served a sizable meal.  I am sure that made all the arrangements for His comfort.  However, she continued her duties even when the time came to sit at Christ’s feet and listen.
  4. Those distracted by service are often those who miss how much Jesus cares. If Martha had been asked directly, she would have answered in the affirmative that Jesus cared for her. However, she questioned Him because she was working all alone in the kitchen while her sister sat and did nothing (at least in her eyes). His love for us never changes, but our perception of His love can often change based on our circumstances and how we feel moment to moment. Luckily, He is that way with us. The determining factor in whether we sense His love, is our willingness to abide in Him, rather than our circumstances.
  5. Many things are important but only one thing is necessary. We are always trying to prioritize things in the correct order. However, there is only one thing that is absolutely necessary to our survival, and that is our relationship with Jesus.  No, we shouldn’t neglect our responsibility to family and friends and only focus on prayer and the Bible.  Many things are important, but only one thing is essential: Him.
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