She was distracted by many things. Her sister was determined to pursue but one thing. She was anxious, her sister attentive. She was troubled, her sister was tuned in. She welcomed the Savior into her home, her sister welcomed the Savior into her heart.
And her sister had chosen the good portion.
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)
An old, familiar story. But chewing this morning on “the good portion.”
No criticizing Martha for welcoming Jesus & Co. into her home. Who’s going to judge her hospitality? And you kind of get that there was a lot that had to be done to prepare a meal fit for a King. Understandable that Martha might have been in a bit of a tizzy over the “many things” she had to be concerned with.
But one thing, said Jesus, was necessary. While many things may have distracted, there was one thing this encounter of the divine kind demanded.
Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to His teaching.
(Luke 10:38b-39 ESV)
There is a time for serving the King, and there is a time for sitting at His feet. This, apparently, was such a time. That, said Jesus, was the one thing necessary. And Mary had chosen the good portion.
You kind of think Martha may have been cut from the same cloth as Peter. I read just last week of Peter’s distracted-ness on the mount where Jesus was transfigured. Not only does he behold Jesus in His glory, but Peter also finds himself staring at Moses and Elijah. And he too becomes distracted with the need to do something–the need to somehow serve. And so, he says to the Lord, “Let us make three tents for you.” To which Luke the commentator editorializes, “not knowing what he said.”
Give your head a shake, Pete! Your in the presence of visible glory. Seeing and hearing things that no man has seen or heard. Privy to conversations impacting eternity. And your immediate thought is what should I be doing?
But then the Voice comes from out of the cloud, and the LORD God informs Peter in no uncertain terms of the proper response when being in such an audience,
“This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” (Luke 9:35 ESV)
Listen to Him. That was the necessary thing. That was the one thing. That was the thing Mary got. That was the good portion.
To be sure there is a time for serving Him. But how we need to know when it’s the time for sitting at His feet. A time for laboring with all our power, but also a time for listening in His presence.
Oh, to be attuned as Mary was. To know when the time is for sitting at the Savior’s feet. Abiding in the Savior’s word. Choosing the good portion.
By His grace. For His glory.