10:38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home.
10:39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying.
10:40 But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.”
10:41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things;
10:42 there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Both Mary and Martha had their hearts in the right place. They each loved the Lord, however, ones heart was more more interested in hearing Gods voice and the other was occupied by outer appearances rather then what was in her heart.
A lot of the time we read this passage and we automatically conclude that Martha was how bad guy. However, I do believe that her heart was in the right place, but her timing and motives were slightly misplaced.
At the end of the day, God always looks at the heart. Mary’s heart was simply focused on wanting to gain every opportunity to know Christ more and be drawn closer to Him. She was not distracted by the cultural need to be a good host and serve. Martha although she too loves the Lord, got caught up with wanting to play the role of a good host at a time when it would have been more beneficial to sit at her Saviors feet and hear Him pour into her heart.
When it comes to service, there is a time in which we can exercise our desire to do so. However, our first priority and desire should always be to sit and learn more about what God has to teach us and as an outflow of that, we then turn and serve Him.
God honors both love and service. The greatest foundation for serving Him is loving Him and being drawn into a more deeper and intimate relationship with Him.
James, the brother of Jesus, rightly pointed out that faith without works is dead. When I read the story of Mary and Martha I think of the balance of the two gospel legs, faith and fruit. Mary is full of faith and love and wants to be next to Jesus. But Martha’s absence at the feet of Jesus is not a conclusion that Martha loved Jesus any less. Rather, she expressed her faith and love through service. Service is a fruit of the gospel in our lives.
However, Martha erred in her attitude towards her sister and her service. She became bitter by her sister’s behavior and she thought ill of her. Moreover, it’s possible that Martha was distracted by more than just serving. The passage makes it sound as if she might have been distracted by non-essential household tasks; tasks that were not necessary to complete at the time.
We must be careful to not confuse busyness with productivity or service. Just making ourselves busy does not necessarily mean we are being productive. There is value is slowing down and re-centering ourselves on Jesus. If we stay busy all the time we are going to be too distracted to see what Jesus is doing in your life and other’s lives.