Deron Freudenthal, Campus Minister
This past Sunday, I preached on Luke 10:38-42. As you know, Martha is distracted by all the tasks that go along with being hospitable while Mary sits at Jesus’ feet. After having all she could take, Martha basically rebukes Jesus telling him to tell Mary to get up and help. Christ, in probably a gentle, sympathetic, yet convicting voice basically says, “Martha, Martha. You’re distracted by so many things right now when really only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen that one thing and it will not be taken from her.”
Ouch! Ever have that moment when you feel so right about something you speak out about it or act on it because you feel so strongly only to find out you are completely wrong? Its a piercing, stomach dropping moment that can be a very humbling experience. That’s where Martha is right now. She just had the “self-righteous” rug pulled out from under her. Ever been there? I have. Its no bueno. At times like this you usually ask yourself 2 questions: 1) What do I do now? and 2) How can I never put my foot in my mouth like this again? I personally think Martha experienced something like this.
First, I think Martha probably stopped what she was doing and took a seat. If we look in John 12, we see Mary and Martha again, along with their brother Lazarus. Assuming this is a different scene than the one in Luke, we see Martha again doing the serving and Mary again at Jesus’ feet. Only this time we see no complaint from Martha. This brings us to the second question. I think this is the case because over time she has learned there is a time for everything: a time to serve and a time to sit. The only reason she is able to happily serve this time is because she has already spent plenty of time sitting at Jesus’ feet. We know these three siblings have become good friends of our Lord, and he frequently stays with them given the close proximity of their village, Bethany, to Jerusalem. I’m sure that during these visits Martha has continually been learning the lesson that true selfless service of others comes out of taking the time to truly love the Lord by taking the time to be with and learn from Him.
Many of us hear this and our first thought is, “I’m too busy.” I hear you. I truly do. Then I think about Jesus, who had to be the busiest person ever, and he frequently went off alone to be with God. Often our attempt to remedy this, to spend time with God while still being busy, is to multi-task. We pray while driving, read scripture while at a ball game, or listen to Christian music while working at our desk. Now listen carefully…all those are good things! I highly recommend them. After all, the goal of intentionally spending time with God is to be mindful of the presence of God in all that we do. However, if our only times with God are while we are doing something else, then our Lord and Savior never gets our full attention. If the only time I ever listened to my wife was while I was watching TV, I’m not sure we would have the kind of relationship either of us would want. So yes, multi-task. May we be aware of God in all that we do, but may we also carve out special time for our Lord during the day. May we, like Mary, choose the one thing that is most needed.