02-25-07

Mary or Martha?  Servant or sitter?  The story that Luke records (Luke 10:38-42) tells us of an incident where these two sisters invited Jesus over for dinner.  In Luke’s account, Martha was “distracted with much serving”.  She was upset because it seemed as if she had to do everything for the occasion and Mary was just sitting in the living room listening to Jesus.  We love Jesus’ response, “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” (Luke 10:41-42 NKJV).

If we’re not careful, we can come away from that story being critical of Martha, the busy servant. We can get the idea that Jesus just wants us to sit at His feet all day long and never get anything done.  But beloved, it’s important to remember the context of the story.  In the beginning of Luke 10, Jesus has sent out a group of seventy on a sort of “mission trip”.  They had visited many cities, talked to a lot of people about Jesus, been involved in seeing God do miracles, and had even cast demons out of people.  They were very busy servants.  In the middle of Luke 10, Jesus teaches about what it means to “love thy neighbor”.  When Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan, the lesson is that loving your neighbor means to meet the needs of the people you run into.  If you claim to love others, you will serve, serve, serve them.

There is no choice to make in being a “Mary” or a “Martha”.  We need to be both.  We need to serve and sit.  If I am bothered and worn out with serving so much, I need to learn to sit.  But if all I do is sit, I need to learn to serve.