Many of you probably know the story about Mary and Martha and Jesus from the gospel of Luke chapter 10:38-42. I know I’ve read it dozens of times and taught from it many times, too, but in light of all the swirl that is going on related to this pandemic, it was a fresh reminder to my soul.
You might remember from Luke 10:39 that Martha “… had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.” And in contrast to Mary the next sentence says, “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.”
If I were to paraphrase this into my own experience recently, it would read something like this,
‘Mary sat (still and unhurried) at the Lord’s feet (in His presence and postured to learn) listening (not busy in her own thoughts and feelings and plans for the day) to what he said (His word, His gentle voice to her heart).’
‘But Rich was (rather) distracted (even though he tried to be sitting still and listening as he read his Bible) by all the preparations (or in this case wondering about the news for the day, waiting for the next important announcement, wanting to check my emails and Facebook) that had to be made (according to my agenda for the day).’
Jesus called Martha out on her demanding attitude when he responded to her “question” about making Mary help her, “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things.”
Obviously, he might currently be saying, “Rich, Rich” or “your name, your name, you are worried (anxious, fearful) and upset (frustrated, angry, on edge) about many things.”
But I love how Jesus commends Mary and basically gives a great reminder to us all, “but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
The “one thing that is needed”, even for our peace and joy and life today, is to sit still in the Lord’s presence, listening to His gentle voice to our hearts through His word.
Jesus also makes it clear that this was deliberate choice or decision that Mary had “chosen” to make, and that is was “better” than Martha’s choice at that time.
I don’t know about you, but after reading this passage today, I had to stop and confess (i.e. repent of) my busyness and distractions from the Lord as sin, and then I had a sweet time listening to what Jesus had to say about prayer in the next chapter.
Anyway, if you can relate at all to Martha’s (and Rich’s) error at all, and if you’d like to experience the peace and joy that Mary surely experienced, then you might take a little time to check your heart and repent if needed, too. God bless you, –Rich