“She had a sister called Mary,
who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.”
Luke 10:39 (NIV)
“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 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 10:40-42 (NIV)
Sometimes important things can crowd out things that are even more important. Eating three meals a day is considered very important to good health. No one should be deprived of a balanced diet. Many of us as Christians, support people’s need of food who live in poor countries. Great Christian organizations such as Compassion and World Vision carry on tremendous work to help starving people obtain nourishing food.
Yet there is a need of humanity that surpasses the need for life sustaining food. That is the need for food for our souls.
The story around today’s verses is about Jesus visiting in the home of Mary, her sister Martha and their brother Lazarus. This home in Bethany, a suburb of Jerusalem, gave Jesus hospitality many times when He visited Jerusalem.
On this particular occasion Jesus chose to do some teaching in the home while Martha busied herself with the preparation of a meal. Mary, on the other hand, forgot the needed chores in the home in order to sit at Jesus’ feet and take in all He said. In other words Mary left aside the physical food for the spiritual food.
Martha was understandably upset at being left with all the work to prepare the necessary meal. However, when she complained to Jesus about the seemingly unfair load of work she had, the Saviour gently chided her and said that Mary had chosen the better thing.
There are times in life when we can be like Martha. We allow important things to crowd out the most important. Our prayer life may suffer because we fill our day with needed things and then are too exhausted to spend time in spiritual reading and prayer. Or we may do work for the church like teaching at Sunday School or the weeknight youth ministry and forget to apply the biblical truths to our own hearts.
It is easy to be controlled by important things and neglect “what is better”. Examine your own spiritual life today and ask yourself which sister you tend to resemble. Are you like Martha and spend all of your time on the material? Or do you exercise self control and put first things first? If you choose what is better you will never lose it. If you choose the lesser things—you may discover they will be taken away. It is your choice.