Luke 10:38-42 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."
Time and time again I need to come back to this passage. Martha was running around (like we women tend to do) doing good things (but not the BEST thing of spending time with her Savior). She was concerned with preparations, because she had Jesus over for dinner. She was bitter and resentful toward Mary because Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus rather than helping with dinner. She was spiteful and tried to get Jesus to make Mary help her (like we women can so easily get when we think others aren't doing their fare share of work like we are). And oh how gently our Lord rebuked her. I can easily picture this, as I've done it myself all too often. I can easily get so caught up in details and preparations that I loose sight of what's most important... that I become frazzled and weary. I remember that in the study Falling in Love with Jesus the authors put it so well by saying that Martha was so focused on impressing and hosting an elaborate meal for Jesus, when really chips and dip would have been fine... all He wanted was her heart and devotion.
I love Martha's heart to serve... it's beautiful. I can easily understand her wanting to make everything special for Jesus... to give him (what she thought was) her best. But in doing all of this activity and serving Martha had neglected face time with her Lord. She had neglected relating with Him. This reminds me of 1 Corinthians 13:1-3;
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
To phrase it up... anything done out of duty, desire, or force... anything done by any means other than the love that Jesus has given me, that then flows out to others, is all in vain. All of my service and deeds are meaningless and fruitless if my relationship with Jesus isn't right. That He is first and foremost concerned about my heart, and my relationship with Him, rather than what I do for Him.
I needed this reminder this week. It's been a busy two weeks, and I've just been trying to keep my head above water in the midst of an over crowded schedule. I've been weary and worn out working on to do lists, attending events, and wanting to meet the needs of every one that I know. Last week, amidst my weariness, a friend reminded me that Jesus will give me rest, that His burden is light. That I don't single handedly need to meet every need that I see, and that my time with Him is what is most important. She reminded me that even Jesus (being God, being perfect, being sinless) needed to take time away from the crowds to pray. That He often withdrew. That others were sometimes shocked and disappointed when they felt that they "needed" Him and He was no where to be found (Mark 1:35-37).
And now I'm feeling much better, as I seek to put my time with Jesus first... in realizing that some things may fall through the cracks... in accepting that I'm not pefect, and I can't do everything... as He is filling me with His peace that transcends understanding. And so I will continue to meditate on and memorize the verses below this week, as the Lord tenderly rebukes me, and fills me with His Truth.
Luke 10:41-42 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."