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!”
Mary and Martha had the privilege of hosting Jesus in their home. Mary welcomed the Lord and his disciples inside and made sure everyone was comfortable before taking a seat near Jesus. She looked around, but didn’t see Martha. Probably in the kitchen. Mary thought of going to help, but who could look into those gentle eyes so filled with love and turn away? Who could leave Jesus while his words brightened dark places deep inside? What could be more important than catching and holding onto every word he spoke?
Martha pulled out a pan and set it down. Fruit! There was plenty on the tree. Mary could fill a basket while Martha boiled water for the soup. She looked over her shoulder for Mary. Certainly Mary had gotten the men settled in the other room by now. She should be back here helping with preparations. There were a lot of things to do to prepare for meals if all those men were going to stay for dinner. What could be taking so long? Martha peeked around the doorway.
No one knew more than Martha about the details of hosting such a group of men. They were hungry, and cooking took time. There was no kitchen staff to do all the necessary tasks. Martha needed help, and she needed it now. But what was Mary doing? Sitting near Jesus as if she were one of them? How inconsiderate of her! Those men didn’t want the women in there with them. They wanted food. And now it all fell on Martha’s shoulders to do something about it.
I wonder how many people sit in church during the sermon and make notes. Not about the sermon, but about their To Do List for the coming week. I wonder if forty percent are listening to the sermon and sixty percent are focused on what to do about Sunday lunch. Aren’t we just as distracted during our personal prayer time – if we remember to do some personal prayer time?
Does food distract you away from Jesus? Martha put her reputation ahead of her spiritual condition. What would people think if it got out that she hadn’t prepared a meal for the houseful of men? Food doesn’t prepare itself.
Our problem is that we don’t consider what Jesus thinks should be our top priority. No doubt that feeding others is important. But didn’t Jesus multiply loaves and fishes for thousands of hungry people? God knows what we need better than we do. When we prioritize according to faulty standards, we show that we don’t always value the things Jesus values.
Top priority on our list isn’t usually spending quiet time asking God what he wants us to do. We think we have it all figured out, don’t we? We tell God to heal someone or help someone financially. We tell him how to enrich our lives. As if he was our servant.
My challenge to all of us is to remember that serving God requires us to first find out what he wants us to do. Obedience is important to God, but we aren’t able to obey until we know what he asks of us.