“Now while they were on their way, Jesus entered a village [called Bethany], and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and was continually listening to His teaching. But Martha was very busy and distracted with all of her serving responsibilities and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, is it of no concern to You that my sister has left me to do the serving alone? Tell her to help me and do her part.’ But the Lord replied to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered and anxious about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part [that which is to her advantage], which will not be taken away from her.’” ~Luke 10:38-42 (Amplified Version)
End of September. That’s when I begin thinking about how I want to get my Christmas shopping done early. (Key word: want.) Summer is over, the kids are back to school. Do you think I take a breath from the fun albeit craziness of the summer? No. My brain rests not. It’s on to the next thing.
“Christmas cards. I want to get those out this year. I say I’m going to do it every year, and I don’t. This year is different. Ok. Where should we get them done? People are doing them at cool, rustic places now. Who do I know has a barn? I know I’ve seen some rundown looking structure on the road somewhere…the type of place that looks a hot mess just driving by it but for some reason in pictures, it would look shabby chic. Oh! And what will we wear? Do I want us to coordinate? And what color? Have mercy…watch it rain on the day we plan for pictures. How would I do my hair?? Bridge, just scrap taking Christmas pics and choose one from the family vacation this year. Did the kids get their Christmas lists to me? What in the world am I going to get my husband this year? Are we exchanging gifts with the extended family? Who’s hosting? I DO NOT feel like cooking…”
Ladies and gentlemen, that’s the running narrative in my head around mid-November. What to do, where to be, and how cute I want to be when I show up. I sadly admit during those early days of planning, there’s not one thought about my Jesus. Not. One.
In this way, I can relate to Martha. Martha gets a bad rap, but I get it. Jesus is coming! Jesus!! And He’s coming to her house!! Now, I’m sorry…I have to ask, did Martha know Jesus was coming? This wasn’t just some schmuck showing up. This is Jesus, aka, the Son of God. They didn’t have cell phones then, so I think it’s safe to assume she got no “on my way” text. And that’s ok. The Creator of the Universe is absolved from having to give anyone any warning prior to His arrival. But if Martha is anything like me, she wants things to be just perfect. She loved Jesus. She likely wanted to show that love by providing the best meal possible.
But while Martha was preparing the home and the meal, Mary was preparing her heart. When He arrived, Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and the Bible says she listened continually. Mary gave no thought to menial tasks. She didn’t get caught up with the details. For her, there was only one detail—only one place for her to be—only one thing for her to do—and it centered around Jesus.
I love the short exchange between Martha and Jesus. Much like my children when I ask one of them to help in the kitchen while the other one gets to keep watching TV (for the time being), Martha said, “Is it of no concern to You that my sister has left me to do the serving alone?” Right, Martha?! Not fair. But in my opinion, Jesus’ response says to me it was of concern, but not in the way Martha was thinking. Jesus said to Martha, “…you are worried and bothered and anxious about so many things…” Isn’t that how we are? Those exact things—worried and bothered and anxious. If that doesn’t describe our society today, I don’t know what does. I believe that concerns Jesus, and He doesn’t want that for us.
Jesus said Mary chose the good part. The Amplified version adds a note after that line that says, “that which is to her advantage.” It was to Mary’s advantage to spend her time at Jesus’ feet, and it is to ours as well. Jesus is where we find everything we need—peace, joy, rest. At Jesus’ feet is the eye of the storm—that quiet place amidst the chaos. While the world is putting up Christmas commercials the day after Halloween, urging people already struggling financially in a bad economy to spend more money, we should be at Jesus’ feet, looking for ways to give our money and resources to those in need. Because in God’s economy, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:3 ESV) While the world looks inward, seeking superficial and unfulfilling ways to manage their loneliness and grief, we should be at Jesus’ feet, comforting those in pain. Because “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matt. 5:4)
Friends, it’s ok to prepare for the holidays. It’s a joyous time of year, and there’s something about the Christmas hustle and bustle that is energizing. But please don’t let it turn you into a Martha. Don’t let it distract you from the true meaning of Christmas—the birth of a Savior! The coming of our Lord and King, Jesus Christ, at Whose feet we find nothing the world has to offer and yet everything we need. Accept the best gift you could receive this Christmas—salvation. And if you’ve already received salvation, accept His gift of peace, joy, and rest.
Don’t choose worry, bother, and anxiety. Choose Jesus. Choose the good part.
(Written by: Bridget Depew)