The One Thing

“Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42, NKJV)

Jesus once entered Bethany and was welcomed into the home of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, while listening to His voice and word, but Martha was distracted from listening because she was preparing food. She was simply fulfilling her duty as hostess to provide for Jesus and those who traveled with Him. However, she became distracted from Jesus’ teaching with the many services she had to perform and complained about those to Him. Jesus responded by identifying her misplaced expectation from Mary and touched upon the real issue. She had become ‘worried and upset about many things’. Her anxiousness revealed her inner struggle, anger and actions versus Mary’s peaceful and restful spirit.
Whenever we begin to criticize others and pity ourselves it is most likely that we are overworked or too busy. We need to take some time to examine our lives and to realign our priorities. We might have accepted more responsibilities, become distracted or have no margin with a schedule that feels out of control. If busyness creeps into our minds and programs, we will find that our hearts grow cold as we become weary. Life’s obligations, responsibilities and expectations can distract us from being with God.

The story of Jesus’ friendship with Mary and Martha shows us the importance Jesus places on being with Him over doing things for Him. Mary is found sitting at the feet of Jesus three times (Luke 10:39, John 11: 32, John 12:3) but also helping her sister Martha in the kitchen (John 12:1-2). We need to find a healthy balance between ‘worshipping at the feet of Jesus like Mary’ and ‘working for Jesus like Martha’. Being with Jesus is much more important than what we do for Jesus. It is also important to do things for God but with the right attitude, actions and focus. Charles Wesley said it best:
Faithful to my Lord’s commands, I still would choose the better part;
Serve with careful Martha’s hands, and loving Mary’s heart