Summary: Life is filled with choices. It is our choice to be at peace or to be distracted. Our happiness depends on our choice. Here, we find two women who make two different choices and face the end-result of their choice.
I remember a story that I heard some time ago. A man once visited a counsellor and told him his problem. He said, “Sir, 10 years back, when I was married, whenever I came home from work, my wife would run to welcome me and bring my pair of home footwear and my dog would come barking at me. The counsellor said, “Fine, what now?” The man continued, “Now, my dog comes with my pair of footwear and my wife comes barking.” The counsellor replied, “So what Sir, both the jobs are anyways done.”
Many families today are like this. Somehow the family keeps running – with worries concerning the spouses, lack of peace in the family and so on.
Luke 10:38a - Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.
Jesus was travelling with His disciples. He came to a village. Although Luke doesn’t record the name of the village, we know from John’s gospel (John 11:8) that it was Bethany – a village two miles from Jerusalem.
This house consisted of a family with 3 members – Lazarus (who was raised from the dead by Jesus), his two sisters = Mary and Martha.
Jesus loved the three of them.
John 11: 5 – Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. (Not just the three of them, Jesus loves every one of us, so much so that he died for you and me)
Once when Jesus was travelling that way, Martha opened the door for him, meaning that she took the initiative to welcome Jesus to her home. We must thank God for Marthas in this world. They are people known for their great hospitality.
Martha invited Jesus (with his disciples) and had to cook food for a big number of people. Her sister Mary sat at the feet of Jesus.
Cooking all alone disturbed Martha’s peace.
Luke 10: 40 – But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
What does it mean?
• The verse starts with But.. meaning her spirit was desiring but serving so many people was beyond her capacity/strength
• This made her feel distracted
Now a chain of reaction follows
• Because of her distraction, she was irritated with her sister Mary because she was not helping her but sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to Him.
• She finally showed it on Jesus. She told Jesus to tell Mary to help her (she indirectly meant that Jesus was not concerned that Mary was helping her).
All of us would have faced such scenarios at some point in our life. When life’s burdens throws us down, we blame Jesus for His lack of concern. However, we fail to realize that the problem is with us.
What disturbed the peace of Mary? – We know that she loved Jesus. She believed in her heart that He was the Christ (John 11:27). She was hospitable. Still, she did not have the peace of God in her heart.
Many of us can identify ourselves with Martha. We love God. We believe He is the Christ. We do our best to take care of our family and be faithful to the church. But still, we are distracted by many things. Why?
We have the reason from the reply given by Jesus to Martha.
Luke 10: 41, 42 - And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
The lack that disturbs our peace if failing to sit at the feet of Jesus
In Jesus’ culture, fixing meals was considered a woman’s responsibility. Moreover, it would have been surprising for disciples and Lazarus as well that Jesus was allowing Mary to sit and listen. Judaism of those time exempted women from study of Torah. Many rabbis discouraged women from learning. So even when Martha complained, everybody would have expected Jesus to ask Mary to go and help her.
But Jesus’ answer was totally unexpected.
Luke 10: 41 - Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.
First he soothed her anger. He identified her feelings that she was worried and upset about many things
Luke 10: 42 - But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away
Jesus corrected her and affirmed Mary’s choice to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to him.
Jesus was saying something that was cutting cultural expectations. Why so? Following Jesus was more important than any other responsibility.