While on this earth, Jesus spent a lot of time at a house in Bethany where two sisters, Mary and Martha lived. One day Jesus visited for dinner.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38–42 NIV)
Jesus comes to the house to be with Mary and Martha. He plops down tired from walking, and Mary sits at His feet. Martha gets extremely frustrated. Martha is producing an elaborate meal and there are some unfinished tasks. She yelled at Jesus, Tell her to help me!
Awkward moment. Martha just yelled at God.
Jesus literally says to Martha, Martha you are worried about all these dishes of food, all these preparations for the meal, but only one portion of the meal is necessary. The best part of the meal is not the turkey or the dressing. I am the best portion of the meal.
Martha was too busy doing things for Jesus to be still and be with Him. She was more occupied with her cause than she was with Christ. Mary, however, savored the opportunity to be with God.
Martha viewed the evening as dinner for God.
Mary viewed the evening as dinner with God.
When we lived in Ohio, Kaye and I enjoyed an Outback ritual on many Saturdays. We would skip lunch and go to Outback at 4:00 before the evening crowd arrived. By the time we sat down to eat, I was starving. I was dreaming of a filet mignon all day, but I could not wait to eat any longer. So we would order the Bloomin’ Onion and insist the server bring us some more bread. I would literally devour the Bloomin’ Onion and almost inhale the bread. By the time the steak arrived, I was no longer hungry. I filled up on the cheap stuff. I was too full to enjoy the best part of the meal, the part of the meal that pulled me into the restaurant in the first place.
Jesus told Martha that He was the best part of the meal. Mary enjoyed the best part of the meal. Martha filled up on the cheap stuff.
If you are not hungry for a close friendship with God, you are probably filling up on the cheap stuff of life. If you are not hungry to sit at the feet of Jesus, as Mary did, perhaps you are devouring parts of life that will never truly satisfy.
Adapted from Identity (2008, B&H Publishing Group)