38 While they were traveling, he entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what he said.40 But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.”
41 The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Mary wasn’t lazy–I knew that. I saw her sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to his every word. Perhaps I was jealous, I don’t know. And maybe I knew that I belonged there, to absorb his teaching and those wonderful parables. Looking back at it all, I should have been there too. It was a missed opportunity.
But there was so very much to do.
Jesus was in my home and all the disciples as well. I needed my younger sister’s help. There was cleaning to do. Bread must be baked, olives and figs needed to be washed, cucumbers and melons sliced up. The lamb must be cooked. There wasn’t enough time for me to do this work.
Mary did nothing. She needed to help me, and that was our priority. After all, teaching was for the men, that’s how it was supposed to work. My sister was definitely not pulling her weight. We needed to serve all of these men–they were counting on us.
We should be serving, not sitting.
For a while, I bit my tongue. But I was getting more and more frustrated with her. Couldn’t she see? Why did I have to do all the work? Finally, it had to boil over. I went to Jesus to intervene in Mary’s foolishness. Surely He would do something. He would surely understand my predicament.
“Sir, 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.”
I’ll never forget what He said to me. He was kind and loving, the rebuke didn’t originate with Him. It came from inside me. At that moment I knew that my priorities were very wrong–
“Martha, dear friend, you are so upset over all these details! There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it—and I won’t take it away from her.”
There are those times when everything becomes crystal clear. Mary was right where she was supposed to be. Jesus knew my anxiety. He completely understood my question, and I knew He was totally aware of me. His word of gentle correction nailed me.
Truly Mary had discovered God’s will, and I had not.
In all my labor I had forgotten what was truly important. Jesus’ words saved me from me. I wasn’t called to work hard; I was called to just sit, next to my sister, listening to the words of my master.