Luke 10:38-42 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Where we start can be very important to how we finish. The above verses bring reaction of all kinds, ranging from criticism of Martha all the way to siding with Martha and criticizing Mary. Some use these verses as an excuse for not getting busy in the work of the Kingdom. Some point to these verses and say, “Someone has to do the work.”
I believe we miss Jesus’ point. Jesus’ point wasn’t that Martha was working. It wasn’t that Mary was sitting at His feet. Jesus point was that Martha failed to start in the right place before going about her tasks of the day. She was frantic. She was criticizing her sister and causing resentment in her family. She was accusing Jesus of allowing Mary to be lazy. Notice verse 40 – Martha was distracted.
I must admit to being like Martha at times. I believe most must make this admission as well. How often do we allow the tasks of this world to distract us from simply starting our day in Jesus? How often do we wake with many things on our mind, many tasks to complete, many places to be, and never “get around” to praying and hearing His word? Mary started by sitting at Jesus feet and hearing His word. Martha didn’t.
The difference seems clear – Martha started with doing and Mary started with being. Mary prepared her inner being and aligned herself spiritually with Jesus, so she could maximize her effectiveness throughout the day. Martha went to work without preparing her inner being, without spiritually aligning, and without coming to a place of peace.
Very early in the morning, my prayer is – Lord, help me to be Your servant, Your minister, Your disciple, that I might do what is right and proper before Your eyes. There is much to do, but the most important thing I can ever do is to first be peaceful in Jesus Christ.
When Jesus appeared to Thomas (John 20:27), He said, “Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
Starting the day in a place free of distraction, simply being with Jesus and hearing His word is the very most important part of the day. The “doing” will fall into place when the “being” is given priority. Martha is not to be criticized. Mary is not to be praised. Jesus is giving us all a lesson in alignment. Start the day in prayer; let the day flow from there.