Mary chose the better part.
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:38-42
Oh, how I have struggled with Mary and Martha. Martha welcomed Jesus into her home and likely He was not alone. Consider how you would feel opening your door to your pastor and a group of folks from the church. You knew what Pastor had to say would be important; you’d sat at His feet before. In fact, you were friends.
Now, I tend to keep my home reasonably tidy and am not a perfectionist in that regard but when someone comes to visit, my hospitality drive revs up and while I know it is most important to just make sure people are at ease, I tend to find serving them part of how I do that, even while knowing it is not necessary on every occasion. It is who I am and it is a struggle. I feel Martha’s pain. Martha’s struggle with being still. But that sister of hers …
Mary just wants to hear what Jesus has to say. She is not busy with making sure everyone is comfortable and situated. She sits right down at Jesus’ feet with expectation to hear what He has to say. Mary is so focused on Jesus that she absolutely seems oblivious to anything else going on around her. She does not help Martha serve.
Jesus did not come to Martha’s house to be served, but He came to serve. Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28)
Because His purpose was that He would become a ransom for Mary and Martha’s life, His communicating this to all in Martha’s house was the most important thing of all. In fact, it was the necessity. Jesus said that Mary had chosen the good part.
Ladies, there is a time to be still, a time to learn about Jesus, a time to hear from Heaven. That’s necessity. What speaks most to me about Mary is that she blocked everything else out. She would hear everything Jesus had to say. That was her priori-tea! Jesus said she chose the good part and it would not be taken from her.
When we have an opportunity to hear God’s Word, it is important to choose to quiet ourselves and focus. Jesus honored Mary’s choice to sit and listen over 2000 years ago, adding that it would not be taken from her. But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:42) Jesus said this is needful; it is a necessity. As with everything Jesus offers to us, we have choice to refuse or accept. Our lives are measured by the choices we make. Mary and Martha were women that both loved God; they loved Jesus. Martha clearly had the gift of hospitality. This day, Jesus reminded her that there were more important matters than her service, for this was a day that Jesus came to feed them.
As I considered Mary and Martha, I considered church, a place that I join with friends to learn about God and to worship as a family with them. Our minds can wander to what is planned after church or for the coming week and we will miss the meal before us. Are you a Mary or a Martha on Sunday mornings?
I think of these ladies and what is most important to each of us is that we have the thing they both had: love for Jesus. They were both good women. Like us, they seemed to have distinct personalities. God did not make each of us the same, nor did He make any of us perfect. That time, Mary chose well and we can learn from her. The lesson is not that hospitality has no value. It has great value and is highlighted throughout Scripture. Hospitality frequently strengthens and supports ministry.
This story does not diminish the Martha within me. It lovingly reminds me that there are times when hospitality and serving should be set aside so that we may be served. Bread of Life and Living Water. In receiving we will be prepared and strengthened to minister hospitality and crumpets at any appropriate occasion!
We need to realize that in all things our first duty and responsibility is to God Himself. Harry Ironside
Today’s Crumpet, which is a little something to go with Hospitality and Necessity:
A couple of years ago I mentioned an audiobook of devotions or spiritual thoughts by Corrie ten Boom. Harry and I listened to it together; we loved it. It is called “I Stand at the Door and Knock.” We got our copy from the largest audio bookseller in the world, run by one of the largest companies in the world. Many of their customers have a membership with them, allowing access to some of their books at greatly reduced prices.
An alternative for this book at a very good price. For the next couple of weeks you can get this audiobook for $3.99 at a site called Chirpbooks. They do not require a membership fee, but daily offer large discounts on books you might be interested in according to what you have told them. You download the app and listen to the books you purchase from there via the app. You are not obligated to purchase, but if you listen to books, you will find occasional treasures at great prices, as low as 99¢. They will email you suggestions of books you may like.
I have listened to this book twice; it is a charming listen, while challenging and encouraging too. Here is a link right to the book: https://www.chirpbooks.com/audiobooks/i-stand-at-the-door-and-knock-by-corrie-ten-boom