Mary and Martha

Luke 10:38-41:

"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!"41 "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things,42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Are you more like Mary or Martha in the story?

I can really appreciate how Martha felt. It's easy to feel put out when you are working hard and others don’t seem to be doing their share. My guess is that most women I know relate more to Martha in this story. Women today are very busy—they have careers, families and volunteer commitments. And, as much as responsibility in the home is a shared function, a recent study in Canada suggested that over 75% of household chores still fall to women. For many women, a lot of life is "distracted by all the preparations that have to be made."

But Mary is a good lesson for me. When I look at this story I can get a little miffed at Mary—what kind of woman let’s her sister do all the work, while she sits in the living room? I certainly couldn’t do that! And, if we didn’t know the end of the story very well, we might expect that Jesus would uphold Martha’s sense of duty and responsibility. But that’s not what He has to say at all. Instead He reminds Martha that there’s only one thing worth thinking and worrying about, and…well…she (Martha) is not the one doing it. Mary, who was sitting at His feet, has chosen what is better. She has chosen to spend her time listening to the Lord of love and learning from Him. And in the end that was more important than feeding the disciples, her family or even Jesus. When life gets in the way of my time to take care of myself—my time with Jesus—then it's time to rethink my priorities. It’s time to remind the Martha in me that Mary has chosen a better way and it will not be taken away from her.