38As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
The story of Mary and Martha often makes me think of a song by Shane Barnard that I used to love. Here are some of the lyrics that really hit home for me.
“You whispered to Your child today
but i haven’t got a minute to listen
Your child is busy with the work of God
and taking Him for granted
gotta lot to do today,
kingdom work’s the game I play
Lord my serving You replaced me knowing You”
As I read this story I imagine two women with a revered house guest. I imagine Martha running all over the house, cleaning up, setting the table for Jesus and His disciples, preparing food and making sure everyone is comfortable. Mary, on the other hand, is relaxing and talking to Jesus. Martha looks to her sister for help and to her none is given. She is rightly upset and frustrated. If this were me I would feel the same way. I can imagine myself saying to my honored guest as she did: “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” I can also imagine Jesus’ response to her would have cut her to the core and sent her stomping away.
Martha gets a bad wrap in this story. It’s important to notice that Jesus does not say what she is doing is wrong, he merely points out that what Mary has chosen is better. Most of the stuff that takes up our time is not bad, but… It is not Jesus. We rarely think to list prayer or devotion time in our to do lists because these activities rarely take a significant role in our day. This should change. Are you including time for God in your to do lists? To conclude, I want to look at a commonly misinterpreted scripture.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
What a lovely encouraging verse… Or wait… Is Jesus pleading with his church to let Him in because they are going through the motions without Him? Is he knocking and calling and receiving no answer? Is this you? I believe this is the correct interpretation of this scripture and I believe it reflects the state of many of our hearts. Do you need to open the door to Christ and allow Him to come in and eat with you, speak with you and love you? If so, choose to do so today.
A relationship with God starts by accepting Christ and bringing peace between you and God. It will continue by, like Mary, choosing to sit at the feet of Jesus when life becomes chaotic. Make sure to take time to pursue that this week.