…only a few things are necessary really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away. Luke 10:42
In the past it really has irritated me just how much I relate with Martha. I found myself having a disdain towards Martha, probably because I could identify with her so much. I didn’t want to be like Martha, I wanted to be like Mary and the more I could see Martha in my actions the more frustrated I became. But something crazy happened, looking at this story again, I found myself seeing Martha in a whole new light and I was actually grateful for Martha and how I relate to her.
As much as the story of Martha and Mary show the contrast of being distracted vs sitting in the presence of God, I think this is also a story of Jesus’s mercy towards us. First off, yes Jesus rebuked Martha because of her busyness but we cannot lose sight of the fact that Jesus loved Martha and it was because of that love He rebuked Martha. God disciplines those He loves. Yes Martha was distracted, but Jesus loved her too much to let her stay distracted. He not only wanted Mary to sit and get nourished by His words but He wanted Martha there as well.
Mary had chosen the “good” part. The good that Mary chose was the one thing that would profit her, the thing that would be useful, beneficial and of great worth to her. I know Jesus was pleased with Mary’s decision but I believe Jesus felt compassion for Martha. I don’t believe that Jesus sat there only wanting to share the good with Mary, I believe He wanted to bless Martha just as much as He was blessing Mary. So He got to the root of the issue that was really at hand.
Jesus specifically said “Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” The one thing that cannot be taken away from us is our relationship with Jesus and the life He gives. You can have your house and all of its possessions taken away from you. You can have every material possession stripped from you. Your job, car and savings account can all be stripped from you but you cannot have your relationship with Jesus taken away from you! Mary understood this truth and Jesus wanted Martha to grasp this truth as well. Jesus knew that if Martha didn’t see this, she would continue to be defeated by distraction. Martha was created for so much more and she needed to learn what the one good thing really was.
God didn’t create Martha to live this way and the same goes for you and me. God doesn’t want us to waist our time and become distracted with the things that can be taken away. Jesus didn’t give up on Martha and think she was a incurable perfectionist or a workaholic that was doomed. No, He met her in her struggles and gave her the opportunity to experience true life. Jesus extends the same invitation to you and me.
I’m grateful for Martha’s story. I am grateful that there is someone who struggled with the same struggles I have. It encourages me to know that Jesus met Martha in her struggle. Martha’s story comforts me because when I act like her, I can hear God say, Martha, Martha…and I smile because He is drawing me back to the good. He also reminds me that I don’t have to hang my head in defeat or get frustrated, instead I know the invitation is open to come to Him, just like it was for Martha and Mary. Jesus didn’t give up on Martha so I can believe that He is not giving up on me and anyone else who relates to Martha.
I hope you are encouraged, to not get frustrated and feel defeated when you get distracted, but instead just stop what you are doing and go spend some time sitting at the feet of the one who wants to fill you with His good and valuable words!