Summary: Being an Authentic Follower of Jesus: Do Not Settle for the Distracted Life
Being an Authentic Follower of Jesus:
Do Not Settle for the Distracted Life
This story is of two sisters, Martha and Mary. Martha is older, more aggressive and although she is the main character here she is not the hero. Mary is younger, more timid and every time we see her she is in the shadow of Martha. Yet she is the real hero in this story. This passage tells us that we must not just be preoccupied doing the right thing but be preoccupied with the right person.
1. Martha is Preoccupied with Ministry (vs. 38-40)
Martha is no doubt a servant. She is busy serving, she is even feeling stressed by the demands of life and she is angry that Mary is not helping her. Many people get burned out in ministry but Mary is burned up in ministry. Not only is she angry with Mary for not helping but she has the audacity to rebuke the Lord, demanding that he tell Mary to help her. She is so preoccupied with serving that Jesus is only a means of helping her get what she wants. Jesus is not correcting her for serving; he is correcting her misplaced devotion. If she was serving out of a love for God then Mary would not have been an issue. Yet notice how Jesus responds to Martha. Even though she is angry and rebukes Him, the Lord is gracious and gentle. He points to the source of her frustration – you are anxious and troubled by many things. He is gently correcting her motivation in serving.
2. Mary is preoccupied with Master(vs. 41)
Jesus praises Mary for being at his feet. Every time we see Mary it is at the feet of Jesus (Luke7:38; 10:39; john 11:2, 12:3). She is enjoying his presence, listening to his words. Whereas Martha is preoccupied with serving Mary is preoccupied with Jesus, lingering in his presence, oblivious to Martha. Jesus says that Mary has chosen the good portion or could even be translated ‘better portion’ which will not be taken from her. She chose not to let the busyness of life, busyness of her schedule or even someone else’s schedule distract her from being with Jesus. She knew from experience that Jesus’ words are Spirit and they are life; she knew from experience what the psalmist says in chapter 16. Everything in this life God has given us to enjoy but they become deceivingly distracting. Slowly and deceptively they seek to distract us from God. What is distracting you? We must fight against everything that wants to distract us from positioning ourselves there at his feet, hearing his words of love and grace. Are you feasting at Martha’s table or at Mary’s table?
Mary chose to be with Jesus over serving Jesus because it is only in being with Jesus that we gain the resources to serve. Yet we cannot force or fabricate love. But we can place ourselves in the place to receive grace. We can place ourselves at his feet, under the faucet of his love and grace and be replenished, refreshed, filled with his love and grace. We can place ourselves in the position to receive a greater revelation of his grace and mercy and love in our lives. The point of this story for us is that Jesus is not looking for us to be slavishly devoted to duty but joyfully devoted and dependent upon Jesus and out of this fullness, this overflow comes life to serve and give to others. All life flows out of this vital connection. We will never have water to give unless we go to the well.