“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But 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 all the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’ ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed - or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.’” [Luke 10:38-42]
When I read about this encounter Jesus had with Mary and Martha, it is always one that makes me stop and have a quick reality check on the way that I spend my time. Before I go into this passage and the meaning behind it I want to compare the two different people in the story, and I want you to think about which person you might tend to be more like, and who you want to become.
Sweet Martha was so excited about JESUS coming to her very own house that she went in panic mode trying to make everything PERFECT. While Jesus was sitting and visiting with them, I can imagine that Martha was running all around the house trying to clean, and cook, and make all preparations and get everything done to make Jesus happy. She was so frustrated at Mary for not helping with all the preparations that needed to be done. Finally she couldn’t bare to see her sister doing nothing any longer so she complained to Jesus asking Him to say something about it…
But how does this relate to our life today? Well, how many times have you missed out on people, opportunities, and Jesus Himself because you were running around crazy trying to reach perfection? Martha wasn’t necessarily doing anything bad, she was caught in busyness and because of that she missed the prize that was in front of her.
Then on the other hand, we have Mary who just simply sat at Jesus’ feet. She dropped everything she had going on. She probably could have cooked or cleaned or tried impressing Jesus with the things she had, but she knew none of that mattered. Mary knew that the best thing she could possibly offer was herself, even if her house was messy, and she had things that could have been worked on.
I think it is safe to say that we could almost always come up with distractions to keep ourselves busy, which is why what Mary did was so significant. I don’t know about you, but for me personally it bothers me when I am talking to someone and they are barely paying attention, and you can tell they are thinking about other things. It means a lot to me when people give me their full focus when I am talking with someone because it shows that they care about what I am saying. That is exactly what Mary did with Jesus and how we should be too. When you spend time with Jesus, it is so crucial that we give Him our full time and attention because He deserves that and so much more. Don’t come to Jesus half- hearted or squeezing Him into your busy tasks that need to be accomplished. Sit with him, like Mary, and enjoy His company, and what you’ll experience is far greater than any distraction you can think of.
Let’s Get Practical
So I am not telling you to quit school, stop working, and never clean your room (ew) just so that you can spend time with Jesus. He wants you to do things and to be social with His people! But take a moment to have a reality check on areas that you act like Martha does to Jesus and waste your time with Him occupied by small and meaningless things that can be done at other times? What are ways you can be more like Mary? What do you need to lay aside so you can fully be present when you spend time with Jesus.
Like Mary, give your entire self before God. Sit at his feet and enjoy his presence. You don’t have to fix yourself or your situation before coming to him. He sees you. He knows you. And he wants you more than anything.
Lord, help me to be like Mary when I come to You. Show me how to come before you and give you my entire time and attention and to enjoy that. Protect my mind from distractions and busyness when I am with You. Help me be still. I love You, Lord. Amen.