“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’
‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘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.’” – Luke 10:38-42
We normally get our priorities mixed up. I am sure that you have seen the local commercial with the three friends who sat down to watch a sporting event on one of the friend’s widescreen television. They had cold beers, and everything was perfect.
Just as the game was about to come on, they experienced a power outage. No, the power outage was not due to load shedding. The friend had bought a widescreen television but neglected to pay his electricity bill. That’s what you may call misplaced priority.
In the above text, Jesus visits the home of some friends – two sisters, Mary and Martha. Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead, was the brother of these sisters. They probably invited Jesus to visit with them whenever He was in town.
During this visit, Mary spent her time at Jesus’ feet, listening to His teachings. She was interested in things spiritual. Martha, her sister, on the other hand, was a busybody about the house trying to make sure that everything was just right for their guest, Jesus.
Martha was thinking about secular or earthly things. Often, we get the spiritual and the secular things mixed up. The spiritual is most important.
Life is full of choices. When there is a choice between the things of God and the things of man, choose the things of God.
What Jesus was sharing with Mary, as she sat at His feet listening, was for eternal life. His words were much more important than any preparations Martha could have made.
Martha complained to Jesus about her sister’s attitude towards the preparations. Surprisingly, to Martha, Jesus took Mary’s side. He explained to Martha that Mary had made the right decision.
We must not think that Martha was not interested in what Jesus had to say, she just got her priorities a little mixed up. At that moment, she felt that making things right for Jesus’ visit was most pressing.
Martha was worried about earthly things while her sister was interested in heavenly things.
There is nothing wrong with earthly things. However, don’t let the earthly things deprive you of those things which are heavenly.
That is the point Jesus was making to Martha when He said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.” Yes, when you have God’s word planted in your heart and you live by that word, you are safe. You have it all, life everlasting.
Mary made the right choice. She placed her trust in Jesus. He is the way and the light of the world. He is life. Choose Jesus today.
In all that you do, place heavenly things first. Remember, the God of the universe has the last decision in your life. He has power over you in this world and the world to come. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau,119 John F. Kennedy Drive, can be reached at P.O. Box N-4794, Nassau, Bahamas; telephone 426-9084; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; or website www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.