Indeed, only one.

[Originally posted on Facebook 4/22/2019]

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 few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38-42

Martha was the one who invited Jesus in. She believed she knew what was necessary to honor a guest, to honor someone important like Jesus. She went to work doing all the things, and grew angry when her sister — who should have known better — didn’t help take care of what needed to get done. She grew angry, and her resolve that she knew what was right deepened.

In fact, it grew so firm that she reprimanded Jesus, her guest, the Christ: “Lord, don’t you care?” She claimed authority over Jesus, as though he was oblivious or uncaring and she knew better: “Tell her to help me!”

Jesus… ever loving, ever patient… understood how she had gotten off track. He knew she was focused on all the things, but in reality there were only a few things needed… or indeed, only one.

To sit at His feet.

To be with Him. To sit with Him. To humble ourselves before Him. To relinquish all else but Him.

Martha was well-meaning, but wrong; she sought to be with Jesus, but when He was with her she busied herself with everything but Him. She trusted her mind to the point of accusing Christ.

Church, too often we are Martha, not Mary. We busy ourselves with “doing things for Jesus” rather than genuinely sitting at His feet. We preoccupy our minds on the things that have to get done and miss that Jesus is already with us, waiting for us to listen to Him. We trust our own understanding more than we trust Him.

We get mad at others when they aren’t operating like we think they should.

We get mad at Jesus when He’s not doing what we think He should.

We try to grab control.

And Jesus says only one thing is NEEDED for the Church:
To humbly sit at His feet, to listen to Him, to be with Him.

Martha wasn’t bad, but she let her understanding of what needed to happen, of what was right, of what was responsible, overpower the reality of her responsibility to the Christ when He enters her home.

“Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”

1 Corinthians 3:18-20

Eventually they would have needed to eat, but Martha put the preparations and tasks over Jesus. It made sense to her: if the fire isn’t started now, the food will not be ready in time.

She misunderstood the power and authority of her guest. If she had only sought Him first, what could that meal have looked like?

After all, isn’t this the man who took plain water and made it into the best wine? Isn’t this the man who, without prior preparation, made a feast for 5000+ people with very little materials?

Church, if we busy ourselves focusing on the things, and not the King, we will never know what the Church can actually be. We will exhaust ourselves on tasks God never called us to. We will breed disunity as we put problems over people. We will grow angry and prideful toward Christ without realizing it. And we will be convinced that we are right and good.

Praise be to God that He is patient and loving to us; but once we have heard Him calling us to be like Mary, let us not hesitate to drop everything and sit at His feet.




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