Summary: This sermon examines the dichotomy between the behavior of Martha and Mary.
The Better Part – Luke 10: 38-42
Intro: Jesse had just returned home after a long, hard day working as an attorney. As she stood in her kitchen trying to mentally unwind and prepare herself for a relaxing evening at home, her husband came through the door. The first words out of his mouth were, “What’s for dinner?” --- Jesse glared at him and reaching for her coat quietly responded, “Whatever the special is at Olive Garden.”
I. Vs. 40a - “but Martha was distracted by all the preparations that HAD to be made.”
A. The verb in Vs. 40 PERISPAOMAI refers to “drawing away or diverting something” “WORRIED AND DISTRACTED MARTHA”
B. The disease of the Internet age is “continuous partial attention.” Texting or talking while driving --- Answering the phone when you are having lunch with a friend. It has always been with us. The causes of our inattention have altered.
II. Vs. 40b – “”Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
A. In complaining that her sister has left her alone to serve as host, she breaches her hospitality. Instead of addressing Mary, she puts her guest on the spot.
B. Jesus isn’t going after Busy Martha, but Worried and Distracted Martha. --- Hospitality is not about the food; it is about focusing on the guest.
III. Verse 42b – “Mary has chosen what is better.” --- Jesus didn’t say she chose the right thing. She had chosen what is better. Her focus was on Jesus. The object of her devotion was Jesus.
A. Nothing in the passage suggests the activities these women pursue represent types of lifestyles, or that Jesus’ final statement lays down a general rule that always values particular expressions of discipleship over others.
B. The story does not reinforce a Martha-Mary dichotomy but calls for recognition that God is in both. It is not an either/or message but a both/and message. To be genuine acts of discipleship all must be focused on Jesus.
Conclusion: Martha must have felt like the “Lone Ranger” doing it all by herself. Have you ever felt that way? “GOD, I COULD USE SOME HELP HERE!”
Is it possible that this story of 2 sisters offers us an ongoing plea from the Lord to focus on him, to give him some “prime time,’ some continuous full attention whether it be in service or study, whether if be in contemplation or cooking. Focusing always on Christ Jesus is the better part we must consciously choose.