“’Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” (Luke 10:41–42, NIV84)
Awhile back I did a presentation for a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group called “Living a Mary Life in a Martha World.” You can find the presentation on Vimeo. It was a challenging presentation because most women today are bothered by this encounter with Jesus, Mary, and Martha. Most women find their lifestyles judged by Jesus, as He seems to take Mary’s side over Martha’s complaint. And what is her complaint? She and Mary have important guests at the house and Martha seems to be doing all the work. As she busily makes preparations, Mary sits at the feet of Jesus listening to Him teach. Martha comes and asks Jesus to please make Mary come help do the work, and Jesus replies with our verses today, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
So what is Jesus telling women (and men) of today? He is telling us that sometimes we can be too busy even doing good things. I know a lot of women who are doing wonderful work for their church but seem to be burned out and not finding any joy in their labor. Like Martha, they do and do and do for Jesus, but aren’t finding the time to be with Jesus. We all need to find a proper balance between our devotional life and our life of service. We cannot sacrifice one for the other, and we must always focus on our devotional life first. Mary was honored by Jesus because she made the right choice. He wasn’t saying that serving is unnecessary. He was simply saying that it is secondary to spending time with Him. Only by spending devotional time with Jesus can we keep our service life in balance.
May we all find ways to live a Mary life in a Martha world!