As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
The pressure is on in our lives to do better, to achieve more, to want more than we need, to do better than the Joneses down the road. It’s part of our battle against the powers of hell (John 10:10).
In my time with God lately, I have become aware of his voice encouraging me to keep it simple.
It’s easy to complicate our relationship with Jesus, the things of the Bible and our commitment to serving in Church and make them harder than they need to be. It should be kept simple.
So, what is the “one thing worth being concerned about” that Jesus was talking about?
Let’s look at Martha’s side of the story (Luke 10:40-41)
But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details.”
Martha, too, was distracted by all of the things she had to do in order to be a good hostess and provide for Jesus as well as all of His disciples.
Here is how things might have gone down that day at Martha’s House:
Martha was up to her elbows in food preparation and suddenly realized she was low on fresh water. So she grabbed the bucket and ran to the well, filled it, tripped, spilled it, refilled it, and rushed back as quickly as she could. Mary was still sitting there and hadn’t even been in the kitchen to help with anything. As Martha rushed around the kitchen, she was getting more and more ticked off with Mary.
Finally, when she heard Mary laugh out loud at something Jesus had said, she’d had enough. She marched into the room and gave Mary one of those unmistakable sisterly looks that said, “Just wait until I get you alone.”
Jesus glanced up and gave Martha a little smile. Martha was pretty cheesed off by now. She said, "Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
Now I don’t want to minimize the work anybody does at home, here at the church, or elsewhere in the community. However, if your service has become nothing more than a truckload of worry, then you may need to listen to and try and understand Mary’s side of the story.
Jesus was not dissing Martha for her service. Jesus knew what it was to serve others. In fact He said that He had not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. Martha was serving Jesus out of love and devotion for Him. However, something was missing in all of her efforts.
Let’s go ahead and take a look at what Mary chose that was so much better than all of Martha’s gourmet cooking and hard work.
The “One Thing” (Lk. 10:39, 42)
Jesus told Martha that she was worried and upset about many things, but what she really needed was “one thing”.
What was that one thing? Turn to Psalm 27:4—David gives us a clue. “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.”
What David is saying is this, “The most important thing for me is to spend time with the Lord, enjoying a right relationship with Him. I just want to be where He is, and be close to Him.”
Sometimes we are so busy living our lives that we get distracted from fulfilling the purpose for our lives. And that is to fellowship with God.
Mary had chosen the one thing that was needed. Normally, she probably would have been helping in the kitchen. But Jesus was there! She chose to sit at the Lord’s feet and be with him.
- Whatever we do for the Lord should come out of spending time with him.
- Relationship comes before service.
- God wants us more than He wants our service.
- When He has us, then our service for Him will be blessed and will yield greater results.
The challenge today: When will you spend time with Jesus? Where will you do it? How long? What is your plan for Bible reading and hearing God speak to you through His word?
Start somewhere: Even five minutes a day in God’s word will make a difference in your life. If you do not already have a plan, ask God to help you come up with one. Try five minutes reading and five minutes praying and worshipping. The point is that we must make time to be with God. Remember, with God all things are possible. However, if we’re seldom or never “with Him,” then we will lose our focus and find ourselves running around in circles accomplishing very little.
Conclusion: Today, I hope you’ve been encouraged to see the importance of spending time with Jesus. It is so easy to get distracted by the many things that call for our attention. Don’t stay that way! Simplify your life. Prioritize your time with the Lord. Just one thing is needed. Keep it simple.