What’s Really Necessary in Life?

By | January 23, 2011

Do you remember Martha?

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named 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. 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 10:38-42 (ESV, emphasis mine)

Most of my life, I’ve bristled at this passage a bit, believing that Jesus was somewhat harsh with the trying-to-please Martha. But more recently, I’ve seen it with new eyes. I believe the Holy Spirit gave us 21st century women (with our busy families, homes, and jobs) Martha and Jesus’ gentle rebuke.

I find it interesting that it is Martha who welcomes Jesus, yet she is too busy to enjoy his company.

How many things, people, or opportunities do I invite into my life, only to be “too busy” to give them proper attention?

In this portion of Scripture, the Holy Spirit tells us serving is a “distraction.” Isn’t it interesting that an action, normally commended, is discouraged. Why? Because even “good things” can distract one (especially us women!) from the ONE THING.

Jesus says Martha is anxious and troubled. All this serving and doing and busyness reap anxiety and trouble. Does anything good come of all this work? Nothing except that Jesus uses the opportunity to point Martha to himself.

Jesus calls the ONE THING “necessary.” It’s as if he’s saying, “Martha, you don’t need to be doing all that other stuff. There’s only one thing that you need to do and that’s to worship me, learn from me, talk to me, and listen to me. I am your one necessary thing.”

Had Martha just taken a closer, more deliberate look in her house, perhaps she would have rearranged her priorities.

How is your busyness distracting you?
How is Christ your ONE THING?

Important Reminders

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Mary Bernard is a Nashville-based writer and mother of three. She's worked in a variety of corporate and creative environments, but none is more comfortable than the dining room table in her own home. Mary loves to help moms discover God's unique call to look in their own houses for their priorities, passions, and provision.

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