“But one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42 ESV)
In the story of Mary and Martha, we might wonder why it seemed Jesus chided Martha, who was earnest about showing hospitality. Martha had received Jesus and His disciples into her home and was busy with all the details houseguests require. At the same time, Mary, her sister, sat at Jesus’ feet, listening intently to His teaching.
This didn’t set well with Martha. After all, there was work to be done.
When Martha considered her own situation, she wondered why Jesus wasn’t bothered that Mary wasn’t lending a hand around the house. She said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me” (Luke 10:40b).
Rather than agree with Martha and admonish Mary, Jesus commended Mary and said, “But one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
How revealing this response is from Jesus—and over such a practical, everyday matter!
Martha didn’t take the opportunity to nourish her own soul by listening to Jesus’ words when He was with her. She was busy with the everyday routine of her physical world. She didn’t realize Jesus came into her house to teach the Word of God, which alone can refresh and save the soul. “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,” Jesus said to her (Luke 10:41b). She was tending to the details but, unfortunately, missing the bigger picture: the words of life Jesus was speaking that alone can nourish the soul.
How often we do the same thing? How many times is our attention on everything except that which is necessary: sitting at the Lord’s feet and listening to Him speak the words of life?
Jesus came to the house of Martha—just as He comes to each of us—to share God’s Good News of salvation with those who will hear. The redemption from our sins offered by God through Jesus Christ demands our full attention, and that is what Mary gave.
When it comes to choosing what is better, may we find ourselves sitting with Mary and clinging to Jesus’ every word.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, may I always be eager to sit at Your feet and hear the words of life. In Your Name I pray. Amen.
Based on a message from a volunteer working with LHM in Southeast Asia
1. Do you ever find yourself distracted at important times in your life?
2. Do you know people like Mary, like Martha?
3. How can we learn to be more like Mary than Martha in respect to spiritual things?