Luke 10:38-42, Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. 40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Our lives and ministries are filled with countless choices. And, choices have consequences!
In the passage above, Mary made the right choice, even if it meant being misunderstood and even criticized by someone close to her – her own sister. Unlike Mary, Martha was distracted from giving her attention and affection, where it rightly belonged, to the Lord Jesus. Is someone or something distracting you from giving your attention and affection to Jesus? For Martha it was serving. What is it that is distracting you?
As one commentator noted:
Worship is at the heart of all that we are and all that we do in the Christian life. It is important that we be busy ambassadors, taking the message of the Gospel to lost souls. It is also essential to be merciful Samaritans, seeking to help exploited and hurting people who need God’s mercy. But before we can represent Christ as we should, or imitate Him in our caring ministry, we must spend time with Him and learn from Him. We must “take time to be holy.”
Mary of Bethany is seen three times in the Gospel record, and on each occasion, she is in the same place: at the feet of Jesus. She sat at His feet and listened to His Word (Luke 10:39), fell at His feet and shared her woe (John 11:32), and came to His feet and poured out her worship (John 12:3). It is interesting to note that in each of these instances, there is some kind of fragrance: in Luke 10, it is food; in John 11, it is death (John 11:39); and in John 12, it is perfume.
Mary and Martha are often contrasted as though each believer must make a choice: be a worker like Martha or a worshiper like Mary. Certainly our personalities and gifts are different, but that does not mean that the Christian life is an either/or situation.
If we are going to sit at the feet of Jesus, we are going to have to choose to do so. I have to believe when Mary humbly sat at the feet of Jesus, hearing His words (with the intent to obey those very words), she got up a changed woman (LK 10:38-42). More devoted, more dedicated, and more determined to live a holy life for Jesus. A church service isn’t what changes us from within, Christ does!