Busy, busy, things to do, people to see, chores to accomplish. There is always something on the go and something needing my attention. As a wife and mother, sometimes I get so busy that I forget what it is I am supposed to be doing.
Baking, cooking, cleaning and homeschooling are all important things and they are things that I would consider ‘my responsibilities’. Providing a warm, safe and healthy environment for my husband and children is, as Martha Stewart would say, “A good thing.”
What about a great thing? In the endless race to get everything done, do I miss the best parts of the journey? …sometimes. Looking back on last week, I realized that I was so busy with stuff that I didn’t have time to play a game with my little girl. I neglected to do my personal devotions and I was so distracted that the best of what is my life was lost in the stuff.
In Luke 10:38-42, we are told the story of two sisters. Two sisters who loved to do what was good. Who obeyed Jesus’ teaching on hospitality, who kept a home that welcomed and nurtured others. These two sisters had a reputation for being friends with Jesus. One day, Jesus came to visit them. This was not unusual, but on this particular day, there was a crowd and one of the sisters was working very hard to do all of the preparation and stuff while the other sister was doing nothing…or was she?
The sister who was toiling approached Jesus. She knew that it was her job to serve. Especially culturally, that is what the women did. It was unthinkable to her that her sister would sit at Jesus’ feet, joining in on the teaching and learning that was traditionally appropriate only for the men. Jesus heard her complaint, her request that He rebuke her sister and send her to help serve. Instead, Jesus replied,
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.”
Jesus said that only one thing was needed and Mary understood that. I do not believe that Mary was lazy or shirking her duty. I think that Mary had an insight into just how amazing this opportunity was to be for her. Can you imagine sitting at Jesus’ feet as He shared His heart? She was basking in the the presence of the Lord and nothing was more important.
Does that mean that Martha didn’t get it? Was she so worldly minded that Jesus was far down on her list?
John 11:1-44 recounts the story of the death of Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha. Lazarus was very ill and the sisters called for Jesus to come. Jesus delayed for two days and by the time He arrived, Lazarus was not only dead but starting to smell. As was Jewish tradition, the sisters were at home for the week after Lazarus’ death. When they heard of the arrival of Jesus, Mary stayed at home, but Martha left and ran to Jesus. Some Bible scholars claim that she remonstrated Jesus but read her words,
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
Martha knew who Jesus was and she knew that He was the best thing and the only thing that could save. During the supper, she had just gotten caught up in the details. As you go forward into today, set foremost that which is most important. Do not allow the stuff to distract you from that which is better. Let Jesus be the most important thing in your life.