Mary Listened, Martha Served. Which is More important?!!!
Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”…… Luke 10:38-42
In our last study, we were considering the parable of the Good Samaritan where we see the Levite and the priest doing nothing to help a needy Brother but a Samaritan who they despised help this poor needy Man. We noted that the Levite and the priest were more concern about their religious meeting than practical helping of the poor. Today we shall consider the story of two sisters, one was serving while the other was listening. In fact this is a balance to the previous parable. We can hear the parable of the Good Samaritan and conclude that the Main thing is serving and helping the poor people. But here in this Story we read of Jesus rebuking the one that was serving and commending the one that was just listening to His Word.
Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving,: Here we read of a story that took place in a home that Jesus loves to visit. We can think of the home in Bethany as the picture of the Church and all the instances where Jesus visited it whether it is the raising of Lazarus(John 11:1) or the anointing of His hair and feet (John12:1). All of these are Pictures of what should take place in the Church. In this particular incident we see two Sisters who are doing two separate things. Neither of them are wrong but one is more important. And it is very good for us to learn and get our sense of priority right through this incident. We read that Martha was distracted with Much serving. The Lord had come with His Disciples and it is specifically mentioned that it was Martha that welcomed Him into Her Home. Martha was not the grudging Hospitality type. She welcomed Jesus and His Disciples gladly. And this is how our home should be. Home that welcome the Lord and His people gladly. Home that is always opened to welcome the Disciples of Jesus. Hope that does not shy away from entertaining the Lord and His people. Our doors must always be opened to receive and entertain the Lord and His people. But Martha was more taking up with Serving than sitting at the Lord feet. The Lord sat down with His Disciples and began to teach the Word and Martha went into the Kitchen and started Preparing Food for them. Is there anything wrong for preparing food for the Lord and His people? Definitely not!!! In fact it is one of the most unselfish thing to do. Humanly speaking, it would look like a more selfish thing that Mary did. She was just sitting there at the Lord’s feet listening and listening while her sister Martha is struggling in the kitchen preparing Food for the Lord and His people. But God’s ways is not our ways. God’s thought are not our thoughts. What appears unselfish in human eyes may be selfish and foolish in God’s eyes and what appears to be selfish in human eyes could be the very best thing that God desires for us. God does not desire our service as much as Our Fellowship. This is the point of this story. This is what Martha needed to learn. We may begin to think the reason why God saved us is so that we may serve Him. This is a very wrong understanding. God already has millions of Angels at His Service. He does not need more Servant primarily. He needs Fellowship instead. Let us therefore see what the Lord has to teach us in this.
and Martha approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”: This is the result of doing that which the Lord has not told you to do. Bitter complaints against others is an indication of a person who did not listen to God. If we have listened to the Lord, we will never have a complain against others around us not doing what the Lord has called us to do. Martha approached the Lord with complaints that she was the one doing the service alone. Do you approach the Lord with similar complains? Do you approach the Lord that you are the only one left to clean up the Church and arrange the seat? Then it is an indication that You are doing what the Lord has not called you to do. We will never have a complain if we are doing that which the Lord has told us to do.
And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”: The Lord instead of rebuking Mary telling her to go and help Martha said, “Martha, the problem is with You!! I am not so interested in food. I am interested in your listening to my words”. If only we could here the Lord saying this to us, our service for Him does not interest Him so much than our fellowship with Him. He desires first of all that we sit at His feet and hear His Word. We may think that is a small thing but Jesus says, “That is the One thing that is needed!!!” He said only one thing is Needful. He said only one thing is necessary in Life!!! And that is not to serve Him but to have Fellowship with Him. There are many who cannot serve the Lord because they don’t have the opportunity or the gift or they don’t have the time. What shall such people do? Should they live in condemnation for the rest of their lives? No!!! But they can have Fellowship with the Lord. That is the One thing Necessary!!! It is not how much we do for the Lord but how much we sit at the Lord’s feet and listen to His words. Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God(Matt 4:4). How shall Man live? By every word that proceeds from God’s mouth. That is how we are to live not by serving Him. Today unfortunately in Christian world, despite this story has been written over 2000 years ago and despite being in our Bible, we find in Christendom the Same mistake being committed all over again. People have got their priority wrong. Born again Christians are far more active in service than in sitting at the Lord’s feet to hear His words. This is why the word of the Lord is rare these days in most pulpit where it is preached. Empty Sermons without the Power, Fire of God and anointing of the Holy Spirit. Empty Bible studies instead of the prophetic word. The word of the Lord is rare like it was in the time of Eli(1 Samuel 3:1). There is a famine of the word of God. The Bible is there, but the prophetic word of the Lord is missing. It was Written concerning Moses in Exodus 34:34, “whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he would take the veil off until he came out; and he would come out and speak to the children of Israel whatever he had been commanded.” This is how the Lord desire that we serve Him today. This is why the Lord said to Martha, “This is the One thing that is needed!!!, You can be busy with all your service, and you will accomplish nothing, you will be like those Fishermen that toiled all night and caught nothing!!!(John 21:3).A lot of Christian service is like that, Toiling all night and Yet catching nothing. Until they listen to the word of Jesus which says, “Cast your net on the other side(John 21:6).There is tremendous power in listening to the word of the Lord and letting our activities and service flow out of that word which we have heard from the Lord instead of our own Soulish activity.
God’s word divide between Soul and Spirit(4:12). Many Christians don’t understand the difference between Soulishness and Spirituality. One of the Clear evidence of Soulishness is here in Martha. What she was doing was not Evil, it was very good and unselfish. She denied herself and sacrificed so much yet her service amounted to nothing. There are lots of people who denied themselves and do a lot of very good thing but their service amounts to nothing because they have not valued Fellowship with the Lord above their service. They have not put the Lord first above the service of the Lord. And the end result is complaints. If only they have listened to know what the Lord wanted in particular at that moment, things would have been more glorious. Their services would have been more joyful.
And the Lord said to Martha, “You are worried about so many things”. Does the Lord has to say that to you? Are you worried and bothered about some many things? You may be worried about so many things in your home that you don’t have time to listen to the Lord. Your Daily activities and your work may take up so much of your time that you have no time to listen to God. This is because you don’t think listening to the word of God is a priority in your life. If it was a priority, you will create time for it. Imagine your child was dying with some serious Sickness, wouldn’t you find time to take that child to the hospital? Definitely you will. Why did you have that time? Because you feel it is priority. And in the same way, if you felt that listening to God’s word is a priority, you will always make time for it. The reason you don’t make time for it is because you don’t think it is important. You have not allowed your mind to be renewed to see things from God’s view point. Service for the Lord is not as important as listening to His Words.
Mary sat at the Lord’s feet and listened. She didn’t say much. Many people think of prayer as only talking, talking, talking. Very often prayer is only Listening. There should be a lot of listening in our prayer and fellowship with the Lord. It is not just listening in the morning but right through the day even in the middle of our work to stop and listen. This is the Good part which Mary chose and this is the Good part that cannot be taken away from us. Our service may be taken away from us but our fellowship with the Lord can never be taken away from us. Our running up and down will be taken away from the Lord but nobody can break our fellowship with the Lord. Get your priorities right!!! May God give us Grace all our lives to choose that one thing that is Needful which Jesus calls the Good part.
Dear Friend, get your priorities right. Listen to the Lord first before You serve Him. You will be more productive in your service that way. Don’t be in haste to serve Him without Listening to what He wants to say to You first. Sit down at His feet and listen to Him. Let your service flow from what He has told you to do. This is the One thing that is Needful!!! May the Lord sit us down to listen to Him so that when we stand before Him, we will not have complaints and be rebuked for being worried with many things leaving that one thing that is Needful.(Amen). God bless you. Have a blessed day.
#Everyday with Jesus.