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
Can I say that I’ve never liked this scripture? I’ve spent brief seasons as a “Mary” yet decades as a “Martha”. I’m good with details and lists and organization. I’m a planner. I think things through, sometimes overmuch. Marthas matter to God, too. Mary gets all the praise in this scripture. Martha’s role as the eldest is hostess. She’s shopping, thinking ahead and preparing room for Jesus and his friends. That’s important, too.
Jesus’ response to Martha isn’t unkind, however. There are times to strategize and work ahead. Taking care of people and showing hospitality with good food and a restful place to sleep blesses folks. Other times, it’s enough to sit at His feet and simply abide.
Something eluded me; I found myself wondering about it early Resurrection morning. I didn’t sense Jesus near and I wanted Him, desperately. Then, the epiphany. I chuckled when I recognized how I’d crowded Him out with all my mental lists. Jesus hadn’t left me; I’d gotten distracted. I recalled the many blessings He had provided. I told Him how grateful I was (am) for friends, family and cats. We – okay, I – spend so much time asking, asking, asking I don’t enjoy what I do have. A deep sense of peace filled me and I got reconnected to the Source. The joy of the Lord is our strength.
Our times with the Lord ebb and flow as He woos us. Each of us will spend stints as Mary and Martha throughout our lives. We need to gather strength from Him in order to be and to do His good pleasure. May we know the season we’re in and follow the Spirit.