Are You a Mary or a Martha?
We women wear many hats in life. From Christian wife, to mother, to daughter, to employer/employee, to sister, aunt, grandmother, friend, the list goes on. As soon as our feet hit the floor in the morning, we are bustling about the day, trying to check the various jobs we have to do on our never-ending “to do” list. As most of us are busy, when should we take time out for God? Does God understand when we get so focused on the duties we have to perform in this life that we “forget” or choose not to take time for Him?
Luke chapter 10 gives a great illustration of where our priorities should be in regards to God and the various cares of this life. At this time, Jesus and His disciples had been traveling from place to place, teaching multitudes and healing the sick. They came into the village that Martha and her sister Mary lived in, and Martha invited Jesus and His disciples into her home to rest (verse 38). While her guests are resting and waiting for a meal, Martha is very busy with the duties of a hostess. No doubt those of us who have had guests come over for dinner at our houses know about all the work that a gracious hostess must do to make her guest feel comfortable and well-fed!
As Martha was working, her sister, Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet, and listening to Him teach God’s Word. This would have been an amazing time for Mary because she was able to hear the greatest Teacher that every lived in that moment! Seeing that Mary had chosen to listen to Jesus rather than help her with the many duties of serving their guests, Martha became upset and voiced her concerns to Jesus. “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.” It is clear from her words that Martha did not understand why she was having to do all of the work herself while her sister sat and, in her mind, did nothing.
Jesus, as always, gave the best answer to Martha’s plea for help. “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (v. 41-42). The New King James version of the Bible uses the word “worried” in place of the word “careful,” which hints at the idea that perhaps Jesus was referring to other times where Martha was worried about things in the past, along with her worry about serving her guests in that moment. Whatever the case, Jesus showed Martha that Mary had her priorities in order by putting her focus on eternity rather than on the temporary duties of this life.
So, are you a Martha or a Mary? Do you take time out of your day to study God's Word and focus on spiritual things, as Mary did? Or, like Martha, do you bustle about your day, and stay so busy that you fail to focus on what is most important? We can learn so much from this story. What Jesus told Martha about putting Him First over the menial tasks she had to perform applies to us today. No matter what we have going on during the day, we should always put God First! How can we do this? One way is by making sure that we put studying our Bible everyday a priority, just as we would make cleaning house or grocery shopping a priority. We should also make attending worship services of a congregation of the church of Christ a priority just as we would make attending our jobs a priority. Everyone does exactly what they want to do every day of which they are able to do, and we, as Christians should want to take time out for God each and every day of our lives! Completing the daily tasks that we are given to do is important, but serving God is more important! If we do this, everything in our lives will fall neatly into place! “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:33-34)
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