The Most Important Thing is Listening to What He Has To Say
Mary did not sit at the feet of Jesus to listen to Him because she was a slacker, using the moment as an excuse to avoid working. She was captured by the life-imbuing Words of Christ.
“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 (NIV).
I wouldn’t be surprised that Jesus was ‘uninvited’ guest at Martha’s home. It might not have been a pre-arranged visit. If it was, Martha and Mary could have prepared in good time. In His style, Jesus might have just turned up.
No problem! Martha had opened her door for the Lord. After all, why expect too much from an age where there were no phones. Studying Jesus movements, it doesn’t look to me like He was operating some strict programmed itinerary.
But after opening her door, she couldn’t just sit there with such a high profile guest without doing the necessary. From human side of things, ONE thing was obvious. She had to prepare something for the guests. This was the most immediate thing.
Remember that Jesus had come to their home with His disciples—there were 12 of them, together with Him, there were 13 adult men—most likely hungry. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were other people who had spotted the Lord and followed. Jesus tended to be followed even by people who were not His followers.
Martha’s work was enormous—preparation for 13 man-folk that have just paid an impromptu visit! It is very understandable that she got upset and sought the help of her ‘idle’ sister. Martha was even upset with the Guest Himself. Her outburst was loaded with both explicit and implicit reflections. You could almost read her mind in a way that you could add more verbiage to what she was saying: You of all the people, how can You encourage laziness? Don’t You care that You need something to eat? Where will You get the strength to talk if You don’t eat something? Suppose I also sat here, is that what You want? etc.
Jesus was aware of all this, yet He slammed the mallet: “You are worried and upset about many things” (v. 41).
What you do for Christ is not as vital as listening to Him. She could have as well sat and listened. After being through with them, He could have then released them to ‘Go and …’ From the look of things, Martha was so preoccupied with what she was supposed to do that that she never gave a chance to what the Lord would have wanted her to hear. Otherwise the Words of the Lord were so captivating she could have ‘forgotten’ about the preparations and just listened.
Elsewhere, some people listened until it was late. The disciples got concerned and asked Jesus to send the people away so they could go and get themselves some food. But Jesus proved that He doesn’t only give spiritual food, He gives physical food as well.
We must not be quick to ‘go’ before we ‘come’ to Him. This is why He says “Follow me, and I will make you ….” (Matt. 4:19 KJV).
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