“Lord, do You not care my sister has left me to serve alone?” — Martha, Luke 10:40
Today marks the start of a new series that I plan to do twice a month: “Questions Asked of Jesus.” The first question comes from the story we find in Luke 10:38-42. This story, at first glance, may seem out of place in the middle of Jesus’ teachings since it’s a disagreement between sisters, but there is a purpose that it serves.
The difference between urgent and important: Quoting from our Sermon on the Mount workbook, “One of our greatest faults is that we allow the urgent to squeeze out the essentials.” Martha thought those urgent things were important. Think about it: Cleaning the house, yardwork, work, texts, social media — they all scream for our attention. We think they are important, but they’re not. And, we’re not talking about sins. We’re talking about the urgent things in life that pull us away from the important things in life — studying, praying, assembling.
Putting first things first: Do we neglect Jesus for the urgent things in life? Just because it is not a sinful act does not mean it is not a sinful choice. We must redefine what is important (v. 41-42). Mary chose the “good part.”
When we are distracted and neglectful, three things happen. First, we question God’s care. That’s what Martha did (v. 40). In fact, she seems to be accusing Jesus. Have you ever wondered if God cares for you? Rest assured, He does (Heb. 13:5; Luke 12:6-7). Secondly, we find fault with others. In v. 40, Martha is frustrated with Mary, whom she doesn’t even name. She’s angry at Mary, and she wants everyone to know it. And lastly, we resort to self-pity. Martha feels that life is not treating her fairly. She’s “distracted” (v. 40), when she also wants to be seated at the feet of Jesus. But she’s been pulled away to do her “duty,” and she’s not receiving any help.
Life is all about choices. That’s what it boils down to. Mary had made up her mind. She chose to listen to Jesus’ teachings while she had the opportunity. Are we disciplined enough to choose that which is better (v. 42)?