Mary and Martha and how we’re missing Jesus’ words way too often

Martha, you better relax yourself.

Part of the discussion for Life Group (my bi-weekly gathering of peoples my age for Bible study and reflection) yesterday was to discuss the relationship between sisters Mary and Martha and Jesus.

This was the passage we discussed from Luke 10:38-42 (NIV).

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 feetlistening 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.”

There were two things that hit me when we discussed this and I wanted to share both of them with you.

One question asked last night was why Luke included this into this Gospel. The other three Gospels don’t mention this, but Luke does. Why did he feel it was important to include it.

I then realized that this was included because it was a re-affirmation of a message Jesus preached the entire time to his followers. He even told his disciples to do this: Let go of the worldly possessions and follow Him.

Now how does this story reflect that? Well, back in the day, it was customary for visitors to be welcomed with a big meal and a place to stay. Since Martha was the owner of the house, she felt that she had to follow the customs and do the same for Jesus. He had to be clothes, fed and well rested when he visited.

Martha was following the rules of the land and not realizing that she was missing out on the opportunity to listen to Jesus drop knowledge. She was so concerned about rules and customs man made that the opportunity to get absorb Jesus’ words slipped by her.

Sure, it’s not a materialistic possession that Martha was holding on to, but her lifestyle and priorities were not on par with what Jesus wanted. Jesus wasn’t going to fuss about the food. In fact, He was real close with Martha and Mary. He wasn’t a stranger and He would understand if the food wasn’t ready on time. Friends don’t make big deals out of things like that.

Martha didn’t understand that and sometimes we don’t either. Let’s stop trying to do what we think is right and just focus on Jesus. After all, Jesus is our friend so I don’t think He’s too concerned about all that other stuff going.

Sometimes even though we’re doing so much in church, we should take a break from all of our duties and just sit with Jesus. It’s the most important thing.


The other thing that really stood out to me was that Martha was deaf to Jesus’ words. And she didn’t even realize it.

Think of it this way: Her good friend Jesus was in town and she didn’t spend time with Him upon arrival. Not only that, she knew Jesus was the real deal and that she should savor every moment Jesus spoke. Jesus was inside Martha’s own house and she doesn’t listen to a word of knowledge He was dropping that night.

Let me repeat that: Jesus Christ was in her own house and Martha missed out on everything that Jesus said.

How sad is that? Does she not realize that her long traveling friend, who happens to be the Savior, was in her own house giving wisdom? Jesus was right there and she missed out on the whole thing.

And that’s where we come in. How often do we get a chance to hear Jesus talk to us? Do we even realize when Jesus does talk to us? And if He does, are we even aware that He’s right there?

That’s what we go through a lot of the time. We’re so busy that we don’t even realize Jesus is talking to us. He’s right there, yet we’re walking by because something needs to be tended.

I wonder how many times Jesus has reached out to us but we don’t even see it. He’s probably trying to tell us something every day yet here we are getting too busy to notice. We’ve probably missed a lot of Jesus’ messages because we were just unaware.

At least for me, I need to open my ears and heart a lot more often. Jesus is probably trying to tell me something and I don’t want to be like Martha and miss it.


I am not saying that Martha was bad in what she did. The fact that she wanted to make sure her guests were taken care of is a good thing. It’s a very respectable character trait. But how often do we turn of our good work and just take a breather to connect back with Jesus?

Martha missed out on it. Mary realized it. It’s good for us to be like Martha, but we need a more Mary-like attitude. The last thing we want to do is miss out on Jesus because we were too busy with things that aren’t that important.


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