December 20, 2021 – Monday
Luke 10:38-40 NIV
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.
39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.
40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
Question for you the reader: How do you think Jesus replied to Martha’s complaint about her sister? If you have already read the following two verses, stop and think about what your answer would have been if you had not read the next two verses. After all, is Martha’s request reasonable? The nature of her question – don’t you care – was such that she clearly expected Jesus to agree with her. That would be especially true after she said Tell her to help me!
Me, I am a doer in general and understand that certain individuals tend to do a lot more work than others or work that matters (see Praeto’s Principle here and here). The key here is not simply doing more work but doing work that matters. Taking this into account it would help to ask ourselves, “What matters?” when it comes to Martha’s question.
We are given a clue when verse 40 tells us Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. What was she distracted from? Perhaps it was listening to what Jesus had to say because that is what Mary was doing. She was sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to what he said.
With this in mind, let’s look at Jesus reply in verses 41-42, Martha, Martha you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her. When Jesus said Martha, Martha we should be expecting something other than agreement. After all, how often did a parent or a teacher or a spouse call you by name twice in a row and it was something positive? I cannot recall it ever happening to me, not even once. However, Jesus makes it a point to reprove or chide Martha gently telling her you are worried and upset about many things and that is not necessarily bad. But what are the important things that need to be done or the most important single thing? Jesus said, few things are needed—or indeed only one. In other words, we need to look at all the things that could be done and prioritize those few things that are needed and then determine if indeed it is only one thing that is needed that must be done (again see Praeto’s Principle) and when the others must be done.
Jesus then concluded, Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her. Mary had chosen better than Martha and Martha would do well to emulate what Mary had chosen. What are we choosing? Are we too busy to pray, to join a Bible study, to go to church, to read the Bible, to meditate on what we have read? There are real life things that must be done. That is a simple fact, but all too often we find ourselves expanding that list of things that must be done with things that do not have to be done, until there is no time left for God and often no time left for our loved ones.
Luke is the only gospel that tells us of this exchange between Jesus and Martha about the choices Mary and Martha made. It is only five verses long, but packed full of thought for us to consider. What choices are we making with our time? Are they good choices? Are they choices God would approve of? How do we prioritize our time? Are we prioritizing our time for what must be done and what God wants us to spend time on?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, You have provided much to think about with You Son’s answer to Martha. Thank You for such insight into how we spend our time and are we spending our time wisely? Help us to find ways to spend our time wisely. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton in Beavercreek