Today as I was reading my daily devotional (Trusting God Day by Day by Joyce Meyer) it talked about knowing when to start and stop. In the devotional she referenced the day Jesus and His disciples came to the house of Mary and Martha. How Mary knew when to stop and Martha didn’t. So I figured I’d do a little study of my own on this subject and look further into the story of Mary and Martha on this particular day Jesus came to visit.
We can read of this account in Luke chapter 10 verses 38-42. In verse 38 we see they come to Martha’s house and in verse 39 Mary sits at the feet of Jesus to listen to His words. And in verse 40 Martha starts to get stressed out.
“But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, LORD, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.”
I can only imagine what Martha was feeling here. We have all, at some point or another, entertained guests. It’s a bit of a stress. Is the house clean? Will they feel comfortable? Will the food be good? Will they have a good time? But we are talking about hosting Jesus Christ and His disciples here. I would’ve probably ended up burning down the house in a nervous, stressed-out, frenzy. And then, Mary her sister, who is supposed to be helping her goes in and sits with everyone leaving Martha to tend to everything else on her own. I get it, I’d freak out too.
I know Martha didn’t actually freak out, but it was pretty obvious she was frustrated.
But Jesus tells her in verse 41, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled(anxious) about many things.”
She was worrying about things that didn’t need to be worried about.
Verse 42, “But one thing is needful and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
One thing was needed in that time and it was to sit with Jesus and hear what He had to say. Put away the things of this world, the tasks of the day, the stresses and spend some time with the LORD.
Psalm 27:4 “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.”
I want so much to seek after the LORD. To admire His beauty as Mary did. Every day to dwell in His Word, in His presence and learn more of His excellent greatness.
A couple of questions came to my mind while reading these scriptures. Why did Martha show Jesus her frustration? Why wasn’t Mary helping Martha? What was “that good part” Jesus was talking about in Luke 10:42? And why was it something that could never be taken away from her?
Some of these questions just came from curiosity and don’t have much value in their answers. But some of these questions have good answers and are a big part of the lesson we should take away.
In John chapter 11 we read the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. I wont go through this chapter in detail since it isn’t my focus. But in this chapter we find out that Jesus was good friends with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. He had spent time with them and in their home. John 11 verse 35 we read that He was moved to tears at the death of Lazarus. So we know that Martha must’ve been pretty close and comfortable with Jesus to express her frustrations to Him. (Luke 10:40)
As for my second question, Mary and Martha are two different people. They had different personalities and demeanors. Martha was maybe more controlling, a leader, more of an outgoing person. Mary was quieter and her approach to Christ was one of a very humbled person. She strongly desired to enjoy the presence of her Savior.
Is there anything wrong with being a Martha? No! Absolutely not. We should all have a heart to serve God and His people. But Ecclesiastes 3:1 states “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.”
As a housewife I think my #1 priority is to serve. Cook, clean, etc… but sometimes it’s important for us to sit. Especially to sit awhile with Christ. Spend time in prayer. Spend time reading His Word. Admire Him, learn from Him, dwell with Him daily. (Psalm 27:4)
We have many priorities and responsibilities as wives and mothers, but what is most important?
Like Martha there are so many things we become stressed about. This is our job! It’s our duty to serve people. As wives we serve our husbands. As mother’s we serve our children. As stewards of God we serve His people. But who are we ultimately seeking?
Matthew 6:33 “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…”
In our day we have the Bible to read. That’s our guidance, that’s where we learn of Christ, that’s our foundation. In Mary and Martha’s day Christ was The Word. Mary chose “that good part.” She chose The Word. Which the answer to my 3rd question. In Hebrews 2:1-3 we read of the importance of hearing and doing the things of the Word. To choose the “good part.” And in answer to my 4th question. Things of this world will pass away, but the things of God are forever. They give us eternity.
There are many needs in this life, but what is the greatest need? Why are we allowing secondary needs to fill us up when Christ is priority? There’s wisdom in choosing what to do in our day-to-day lives and when to do it. Cleaning the house, caring for our family, these things are priorities. But don’t forget to set aside those things for a time and for a season to seek after God. For in Him is our strength. In Him there is life everlasting.
I would like to think that I would be a Mary, but honestly, I’m pretty sure I’d be a Martha. Not a bad thing. But for such a time as that was, Christ wasn’t going to be there, in the flesh, forever. They needed to learn all they could from Christ while he was with them. And for such a time as this, I need God more than ever. I’m a young mom of 2 kids. I’m a wife. I can’t do this on my own. I need more of Him to get me through.
Again, I want to stress that there is nothing wrong with being a Martha. She loved the LORD so much, as do we. I’m simply encouraging myself to look at the big picture here. How much time am I spending with Him? I’m not saying keep your nose in the Bible all day while your family needs you. But to look to Him more. Seek Him more. In our troubles and in our needs where can we go but to the Rock that is higher than I. I want to dedicate more time to Him and less time to the things that I deem as most important. Those things will be there for another time, those things will fade, but Christ is upon whom I want to build my life. He is forever, “which shall not be taken away from me.” Luke 10:42