The two sisters who are hosting Jesus have completely different ideas as to what they should do while he is with them. Martha occupies herself entirely with the business of hospitality. She has a large number of people to look after and she is stressed. Mary on the other hand, simply sits at Jesus’s feet and listens as he teaches. Of the two sister’s Mary’s behaviour is the most unusual, not only is her sister clearly over stretched but Mary being female, would never have been encouraged in any way, to study scripture or be included by the rabbi. When Martha finally complains, Jesus, remarkably, validates Mary’s actions. He points out that in the grand scheme of things, Martha’s worry over the fine details of the catering, although certainly necessary, are not the most important thing. Mary has discovered the most important thing – Jesus.
Luke 10:38-42 NLT
As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Jesus’s support of Mary’s interest, does not take away from Martha’s good intentions and concern over serving Jesus and his other disciples and followers. The point, as is so often the case, is simple. If we become overly concerned and caught up by what we are trying to do in service to God, we run the risk of forgetting or not hearing what Jesus is actually teaching us. With that in mind, it is my goal not forget to make time to sit at Jesus’s feet, like Mary, and just pay attention to what he is saying.
Deuteronomy 26:1-27:26, Luke 10:38-11:13, Psalms 76:1-12, Proverbs 12:15-17