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.”
Comment: From experience I’m not surprised that two sisters living together had two points of view that didn’t always coincide. And it is possible to say that in this instance the differences were additive and could make for the better running of the household. In the passage which I wrote for yesterday the emphasis is on the second great law – relationships with our neighbour. In the script this incidence comes straight after the lesson about looking for a neighbour. Martha, labouring in the kitchen may have felt that Mary should have seen her as someone needing help. The help was not forthcoming so she went to the One, who had taught the lesson.
Mary, on the other hand was ‘sitting’ at the feet of Jesus. It doesn’t say what was the subject of His teaching, but we can assume that it had to do with getting on with God. The ‘Martha, Martha’ sounds as if Jesus is gently chiding her. Not to stop her doing her caring works but challenging her to recognize that relations with God come before relations with fellow men, Jesus told her that Mary’s learning was, in this instance, more important than Martha’s doing.
They were examples of living out the two great commandments maybe not reliazing that we are called upon to live under both of them.
Prayer: Help me, somehow in the complexities of life to combine both Mary’s and Martha’s good points. But to always put You first, God.