This is one of my favorite scriptures and was the inspiration for today’s sermon, “A Messy World.” You can plan and plan and plan (like Martha) but things don’t always turn out the way we plan. If you’re like Mary and have discovered the One Important Thing, then when plans go awry, it doesn’t matter. You still have your joy and your focus.
Mary and Martha: two sisters, two personalities, both serving one Lord. Martha had their home warm and welcoming for Jesus when he arrived. I wonder if Mary helped. Jesus entered their house and Mary sat down with him. She spent time with him. Martha carried on preparing the meal without the help of her sister. Martha got annoyed. I know the feeling. Thanksgiving Day: women in the kitchen, busy cooking abundant food of every variety, putting leaves in the table, bringing in extra chairs, setting a beautiful table, pouring drinks, putting food in serving dishes, bringing the food to the table and when it’s time to eat, the men, who have been relaxing and watching football on TV, are called to come and enjoy the meal. Have the men discovered the important thing? Apparently, because it gets them out of doing the dishes too.
But back to Mary and Martha. Jesus appreciated Mary’s presence and her attention to what he had to say. That’s why he came to see them, to be with them. He wasn’t really upset with Martha when she asked for Mary’s help. THE MESSAGE puts it this way, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing.” This is the Jesus I know. When I’m doing something that does not please him, he doesn’t turn me into a pillar of salt but gently turns me in the right direction. And he’s very patient.
I used to wonder what they would’ve eaten if Martha hadn’t busied herself getting the meal ready. But the dinner isn’t important. The fact that Jesus is at their house is important. And it’s the same with any visitor. People don’t come over to eat your food and inspect your house, they come to see you and spend time with you. If Martha didn’t get a meal prepared, they could’ve ordered a pizza or eaten crackers out of the box. You know what I mean.
Martha missed out on being with Jesus. Jesus was in her house and she chose to work instead. There’s a lesson here for us. I wonder if your lesson is the same as mine.