I preached last weekend on the story of Martha and Mary. Martha was frazzled as she tried to make arrangements for Jesus, whom she had welcomed as a guest. If being frazzled was not enough, her sister, Mary, was doing nothing to help. In fact, far from helping with the practical details, Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus, in the posture of a disciple, listening to what Jesus had to say.
The story is not intended to excuse laziness (Mary was not updating her Facebook page or filing her nails while her sister slaved away in the kitchen), nor is it meant to devalue service: after all, the previous story in the chapter is the story of the Good Samaritan, with its call to do likewise; and did Jesus himself not come to serve?
Better to see it as a call from distraction to devotion. If Martha thought that Jesus would send Mary packing to the kitchen, she was wrong. Jesus affirmed Mary’s choice: she had chosen the good portion and no one could ever take it from her.
You can watch a video of the message here.
Just a couple of days ago I came across the following line from Jack Miller, and I think it’s worth considering in light of the Martha/Mary story:
What good are all my labors if I’m no longer enjoying the Lord?