If you have read this story in Luke before, you’ve probably also heard a sermon encouraging you to be like Mary, not Martha. Martha was “busy in the kitchen” and Mary sat at Jesus’ feet to simply be with Him. She did what was best.
I want to take a different angle on Martha because she plays a crucial role in this story. My belief is, Martha was more right than wrong, let me explain why.
Before I do, let’s look at what transpired between them. In John 11:5, it says “Jesus loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus”. We see in Luke 7 and John 12, Mary anointing Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume, Lazarus at the table with Him and Martha in the kitchen. In John 11, Lazarus had died, and Mary and Martha asked Jesus to come and help His friend. Jesus had a history with these three. He was even moved with deep compassion for them when they mourned the death of Lazarus. “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35).
What I want to point out of Luke 10 is this: Jesus was familiar with the house He was in because He was familiar with the hosts. He was reclining at the table with those He knew, including the one He just raised from the dead, Lazarus. Mary experienced the goodness of Jesus by sitting at His feet.
What is profound to me in this passage is the place which was prepared for Jesus to come in and recline at a table, eat and drink with those He knew.
Mary was found to have done what was best in Jesus’ eyes, by sitting at His feet, listening, soaking in His teachings and simply being with Him. Martha was distracted. Distracted is the key word here. Martha was corrected because she was distracted by the work she was doing for Jesus. (How many of you have felt that way before? You do so much for you Jesus and want people to acknowledge it. Jesus wants our attention more than He wants our works.)
Martha quickly got a lesson on the importance of being with our Lord. It’s a lesson we must continually learn and be reminded of. Nothing is more important than our relationship with Him.
However, I want to highlight something very valuable in this story:
The beautify of this story is how Jesus was welcomed in by Martha. She had prepared a place for her Lord. She created a space, an atmosphere, a place for people to experience Jesus and learn from Him. This cannot be overlooked! Yes, we need to learn from Mary and know how to simply be with Jesus and develop the intimate relationship with Him. However, we need to learn from Martha.
Ask yourself this question:
“How am I doing at preparing a place for people, including myself, to experience the goodness of Jesus?”
I love this story about Martha because she was the reason Mary got to experience Jesus in a profound way.
The challenge in our lives as Christ followers comes when we elevate serving above Him. There is the utmost importance on serving. Serving the body of Christ, the church as well as not-yet-believers, but serving our Lord is not more important than the Lord.
The point is this; it’s not one or the other. It’s not either or. You prepare the place SO THAT you can spend time with Him.
Martha was distracted; it was not what was “best”. We can all relate to this. However, she welcomed Jesus into her home, prepared the place and made a meal.
In our lives as Christians, we need to learn from Martha: prepare a place, create an atmosphere and welcome people in! Then, we have the opportunity to do as Mary did: sit at Jesus’ feet, develop the closeness and intimacy He offers and listen and learn from Him.
I will leave you with this; What type of ‘place’ are you preparing right now? Is it a welcoming ‘place’ for time with Jesus? Would others feel comfortable and confident entering into the ‘place’ you have created? Our goal is to create space and time with Jesus, without distraction, and then to be with Him.
We have a God who loves us so much and cares so deeply for connection with us. Let’s do our part by creating a life where Jesus is always welcomed in and you, as well as everyone else around you, have the opportunity to experience Him.
A step further on living a life where Jesus is highlighted and noticed.