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The Choice

Martha and Mary of Bethany were sisters and disciples of Jesus. We know a few things about them from the accounts we read in the Bible. They were passionate about the people closest to them. When their brother Lazarus was gravely ill, they didn’t hesitate to reach out and implore Jesus to come help. They were hospitable, readily opening their home to Jesus and His disciples. Historical clues tell us that their family was wealthy, able to accommodate many guests in their home. They may have been orphans as their parents are never mentioned, yet they obviously controlled a household. None of them seemed to be married. They were keenly familiar with Jesus and good friends of His. While Jesus’ relationship with His chosen disciples borders on the formal, His friendship with Martha, Mary, and Lazarus was informal and easy. I think He just delighted in their company. Often, what many pastors and preachers lack is friendship without expectations.

In the account of Jesus having a meal at their home, I imagine what the preparations would have been like prior to His arrival. I see Martha hurriedly starting to make the food while Mary stands outside their home straining to be the first to see Jesus. Martha is the doer and the server, while Mary is the sitter and the thinker. Martha fell into the role of the head of the household. She oversaw everything that happened. PG moms, she was the mom! She, like you, ran her home efficiently. If she lived in 2024, she would know exactly where the favorite toy ended up and just how to cut the crusts off the sandwich bread. In Luke 10 you see Martha busily taking care of the guests while Mary sat and listened as Jesus spoke and ministered. Like any busy mother, Martha got flustered and aggravated by the lack of help. And because she had that comfortable type of relationship with Jesus, she approached Him directly to complain. She said “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” Her words point to her distress not in doing all the work, but in the fact that she thought Jesus should notice her frustration. She accused the Lord of not caring!

Jesus responded “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.” Here, Jesus is clear about what is priority. Martha was concerned about feeding Jesus but Mary chose the good thing – feeding on the Bread of Life. Mary demonstrated her deep love of Jesus Himself. She did not how short Jesus’ ministry would be, but she chose to immerse herself in Him. Martha was occupied and busy, her mind was on pleasing Jesus through her actions. Preacher Girls, sometimes busy-ness distracts us from what is more important, and that is sitting by His feet. Are you so busy in your ministry that you don’t take the time to sit at His feet? God looks at why you’re doing what you’re doing. Martha was serving to get the Lord’s attention, when all she had to do was be in His presence.

You see PG’s, Martha’s serving was a distraction. Mary was not distracted from serving by Jesus rather Martha was distracted from Jesus by her serving. Are we serving so much that we forget what real intimacy is like? It is so important to spend that essential time with the Lord. This is not an admonition to stop serving in the kingdom. It is a reminder to serve FROM a place of love and not FOR love. Do what you do because you love Him. Martha may have thought her service deserved praise and she was upset when it didn’t get the attention it deserved. It is more important to love Him than to love to work for Him. Serve Him from a place of love and know that He sees you.

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