I get that she was a bit choked at her sister. Though He was somewhat controversial, He was also somewhat of a celebrity . . . kind of a big deal . . . and He had chosen her offer of hospitality . . . He had come into her house . . . propriety demanded a certain response . . . the Guest commanded a certain level of attention . . . supper wasn’t going to cook itself for Him and those who had come in with Him. And there was her sister . . . on her rear . . . just sitting there at His feet. I’d get choked too. But then again, I would have also missed out on the one thing necessary.
But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:40-42 ESV)
“Run, saint, run!” . . . it’s a phrase I came across years ago . . . I think it was a Chuck Swindoll piece I read . . . but it captures how I imagine Martha flitting about that day. So much to do . . . so many to do it for . . . so little time to do it in . . . and so no help from her sister. And it was good stuff that Martha was doing. We need more hospitality . . . commendable that she would “entertain strangers” . . . no doubt appreciated by the LORD and those who accompanied Him. And I don’t think she begrudgingly opened her home. No, it was a privilege to host Jesus . . . it was an honor that He would knock at her door and desire to sup at her place. But come on, sis! Help me out a bit here! Come on, Lord . . . tell her to get with it!
But Mary, at that moment, opted out of what was good . . . that is, serving before the LORD, . . . and, instead, chose what was best . . . that is, sitting before the LORD . . . at His feet . . . taking in His words. And Jesus said that she had chosen “the good portion.” Sure, there was food to be put on the table, but Jesus was breaking the bread of life . . . the food could wait. Sure, there was a table to set . . . but Martha had failed to notice that the Son of Man had also put out some placesettings at His feet . . . and had invited those with ears to hear to feed deeply. Sure, supper should be ready at 6:00 p.m. and people were probably getting hungry . . . but one thing was necessary . . . and that thing was to sit before the Master and consume His teaching.
Oh, I can be such a Martha. But how I need to be more of a Mary . . . and remember the one thing necessary.
Sitting at His feet . . . taking in His word . . . isn’t an option, it is the one thing necessary. When listing the necessities of life, drawing near to Him with a heart that says, “Speak Lord, for Your servant listens” is the number one necessity. When putting together my hierarchy of needs . . . my greatest need is to ensure I take time to abide with Him . . . to respond to the knock at the door of my heart . . . to welcome Him in . . . to dine with Him and He with me . . . letting Him set the table and dish out the food. When determining that which is my greatest duty . . . that which is my most important business . . . Jesus feet time has to be at the top of the list.
Lots to do . . . lots of good stuff and necessary stuff to do. But I need to remember the one thing necessary . . . the only thing essential (MSG).
Dinner can wait . . . the responsibilities can wait . . . the ministry can wait . . . there’ll be lots of time to “run, saint, run!” But I need to set aside time to invite Him in . . . and then chill as He invites me to sit at His feet and listen . . . to be at His footstool and be fed . . . to feast on His word and then worship.
By His grace . . . for His glory . . .