Let’s read Luke 10:38-42 from the New King James Version: “Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 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.’ And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needful, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her’.”

The most important lesson we can learn from this account of Martha and Mary is this: the Lord would rather have us “spending time WITH Him” instead of “working FOR Him.” There is no doubt that Martha loved the Lord, for she “welcomed Him into her house” and began to serve Him, yet Mary felt compelled to “sit at Jesus’ feet and hear His word.” Martha thought true love could only be expressed through WORKING, but Mary’s heart led her to WORSHIP. Martha needed to learn (and so do we!) that before we can really serve the Lord effectually, there must be personal communion with Him. Because she was focused on “her service,” and not on “the Lord Himself,” she became distracted and critical of Mary who wasn’t “doing what she was doing.” This is a common snare when “our service” becomes our goal; we will start comparing ourselves with others and looking down on those who aren’t “helping us.” Martha’s words to the Lord about Mary were not only a criticism of Mary, but also a rebuke to the Lord, for in essence she was accusing the Lord of indifference about Mary’s lack of service. The Lord’s response to Martha is so instructive. First He tells her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.” Let me ask you, “If we are truly serving the Lord because we love Him and desire to glorify Him, is it possible to be ‘worried and troubled’ at the same time?” I think not! The Lord tells us in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED, neither let it be afraid.” The Lord wants us to experience the same PEACE that He had while He was here on earth, a peace that He enjoyed because of His constant “communion with His Father.” This is the lesson Martha needed to learn so the Lord goes on to say, “But one thing is needful, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Mary had learned that “one thing is needful,” and that was to spend time with her blessed Lord and Savior, to get to know Him better by listening to His word. It’s not that Mary never served her Lord, but she learned that in order to serve Him intelligently and without distraction, she needed blessed communion with Him.

We would like to believe that Martha learned this lesson. The next time we see Martha serving the Lord she is once again preparing a meal for the Lord Jesus and all that is said about her is “and Martha served” (see John 12:2). There is no word about her being distracted, worried or troubled, even though her sister Mary is once again found at the feet of Jesus. Verse 3 reads, “Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair.” The Lord alone filled Martha’s vision and thus we believe, as another has said, “She had God’s peace in her heart because she had learned to sit at the feet of Jesus.” Have you learned this invaluable lesson? If so, you have “chosen the good part, which will not be taken away from you.” (237.7) (DO)