Mary and Martha
Originally scheduled for June 12
Now as they were traveling along, He
entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her
home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's
feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her
preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not
care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then
tell her to help me." But the Lord answered and said to her,
"Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things;
but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part,
which shall not be taken away from her."
(Luke 10:38-42 NASB)
Times change. In this passage we go back to a time in which it
was understood that the women of the household handled all of the
kitchen chores. With a little imagination we can understand the
tension. Perhaps Martha was just a little plump, the older sister,
who was accustomed to opening the kitchen door with one hand because
the other one was carrying a tray of dirty dishes. Mary, a little
younger and a little cuter, probably knew how to open that door with
a smile. It seems likely that Martha’s point of view would get a lot
of sympathy from the women who were present.
But kindly notice
this: when Jesus rebukes Martha, he does so very gently. This is not
an exercise in patriarchy but in discipleship. What Martha is doing
is good; but what Mary is doing is better. As a result there is no
harsh rebuke but a tender sympathy and complete explanation. If you
sense anger in Martha’s words, then hear the gentle answer that
turns away wrath.
Mary’s attitude may serve as a lesson for
us in communion. In this section of Scripture Mary does not speak
except by her actions. She is in the right place: at her Master’s
feet. In this, we may see three things:
First, she is listening to Jesus. It’s not just social chatter; He
is teaching. Sometimes you have to listen when the occasion comes
along; you don’t always get the choice of when that might happen.
Second, she is being obedient to Jesus. She is doing what a good
disciple does; she hears and then obeys. Jesus said that his sheep
hear his voice and therefore follow him.
Third, she is trusting Jesus. She is not listening to him just to
get his opinion but to learn the way which she should follow.
Despite the social conventions of her time, she is confident that
Jesus will consider her to be one of his followers. In Christ there
is neither male nor female.
We can see from Mary’s example
how we ought to behave during communion, particularly during the
period of contemplation.
Listening. Are you listening to the
instruction of Jesus? Communion commemorates the most important
event in human history; the death of Christ on the cross. It is time
to listen and pay attention.
Obedience. Examine yourself; see if
you are entirely obedient to your Lord and Master. If there is an
area where you are hoping he won’t see, or worse don’t care if he
does, bring that to him so that you might repent and be obedient to
Trusting. Remember that some day you are going to die.
Make sure of what happens next; trust him to take you home to his
Father’s house. This world is not your home, you’re just passing