‘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
Luke narrates this incident by introducing Martha who welcomed Jesus into her house. Even John in his book tells that Martha was the one who first met Jesus when she had lost her brother Lazarus. This shows evidently that she is a dominating person among her family members and seems to be a laudable social woman. It is a common occurrence in a family where there are more siblings that one of them outshines the other and the family is identified or addressed by that particular sibling. This often instils a feeling among other siblings that no one loves and cares for them. But the Bible tells us that Jesus loves every one. One could attract their parents’ attention to derive more portion of family love called ‘Storge’ but there is a divine love called ‘Agape’ which abundantly flows impartially from God to everyone.
Now Jesus was in Martha’s house and only when He entered the house, we could find another person named ‘Mary’, a woman who always liked to be inside her house and was not much bothered about outsiders and their views. John also portraits ‘Mary’ being inside the house when Jesus came to meet these sisters when they had lost their brother.
As Jesus was in ‘Martha’s house’ she tasked herself much on her toes in order to serve Him. People need others attention to be attracted towards their service and expect appreciation which is a conditional love. But God’s love is unconditional. Here we could notice that Martha really did not get tired of working but she was disturbed by the association of her sister with Jesus. It is Satan’s strategy to always distract people from getting the real essence of the Living Word. Satan does not like people sitting at the feet of Jesus. He reduced the noble purpose of God’s people coming together in fellowship to a dinner. Once a school teacher summoned her students to bring something which was their central attraction of worship. There were so many religious signs brought by kids from different religious sects including one casserole by a Christian kid. When asked, the kid innocently answered the teacher that the casserole is a prominent thing found in all the prayer meetings. This is the plight of today’s Christian fellowship. Martha had paved a way to the strategy of Satan. Most of us would have experienced distractions brought by Satan while going through His Living Word. That is why Paul advises us not to give a foot stool to Satan. Set aside every human intervention while you read the Bible.
Martha complained that Jesus did not bother telling her sister to give her a helping hand. ‘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”. Jesus asked us to abide in Him and then serve others.
‘If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples’. John 15:7-8
We could find Job practicing this while he was in great trouble. Job had chosen the good portion when all of his friends rejoiced thinking that he had lost everything.
‘I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.’ Job 23:12.
This had given him a deep faith in God’s ways. He had confessed his faith vividly in the following two verses.
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.’ Job 23:10
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted’ Job 42: 2
This is the truth that one should apply to all situations of life to accomplish faith. He will not forsake us and he cares for us so we need not ask him as Martha asked Jesus that didn’t He care that they are perishing. Even the disciples asked Jesus the same question when their boat was tossed by storm (Mark 4: 38). It is a FAQ in our daily life too. May we receive His grace for relying on Jesus for everything in every situation.
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalms 46:10
Paul writes in I Corinthian 3:12 – 15 that every one’s work in building on the foundation of Jesus Christ will be tested by fire and if survived will get rewarded. This is not about serving God but building up a Christ like character in oneself which will be tested. If the character we are developing in us is just to project it in the sight of others then this will come to light. Mary was not bothered about others. Job did not bother about anything and just waited upon Him. Shall we obtain this confidence of Job by His grace.