Let me start by asking you a question. Why are you worried and troubled like Martha, after welcoming Jesus into your life?
Both sisters had two different qualities : Martha welcomed Jesus, and Mary sat at Jesus’s feet and heard His word. They represent two kinds of people in today’s Christian world. One who has received Jesus but has not relation with Him, and the other, who after receiving Jesus into their lives, sit at His feet and hear and obey His word. Mark the words of Jesus. He called Martha repeatedly and said,” you are worried and troubled about many things, but one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part.” In other words, Martha was doing many things but was not doing what was needed. But though Mary did not do many things, she did what was needed. Here is the message. Don’t assume that pursuing many things will please God, but seek His face and His heart and do accordingly. Do what ‘he’ needs and not what ‘you’ need. Martha did many things. In the eyes of the people, Martha really loved Jesus because she was busy in serving Him, but in the eyes of the Lord, she was troubled and worried. She was not doing His will. God loves those children who does what He needs. Ignorance about His will makes us worried and troubled about many things. Mary was quick enough to understand what exactly Jesus needed. He does not need meat, but He needs to meet . John 4 is about the transformation of a Samaritan woman. Jesus was thirsty, but after the eyes of the woman opened…the disciples urged him to eat something. And Jesus replied “I have food to eat of which you do not know” and further he said “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work”…Martha thought that Jesus needed meat but Mary rightly understood that He needed intimacy.
This is the reason why you and I are worried and troubled even though we have received Jesus in our lives. We have welcomed Him but are not doing what He wants us to do.
What does Jesus need?
Let us look from this passage itself. I will simplify the communication. Jesus said to Martha, “One thing is needed…only one, and Mary has chosen that one thing which is good. Now no one can take that one thing away from her.” Now what was that one thing which was needed and which could not be taken away? To know the answer, let us see what Mary had chosen. Jn.10: 39 says, ‘And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus feet and heard His word’. Here is the answer. Sitting at the feet of Jesus was the only one thing that was needed, and that was the good part which could not be taken away from her. What does sitting with Jesus mean here? How can you know a person unless and until you sit with him? The literal meaning of ‘sitting at His feet’ shows the relationship with Jesus.
Sitting with Jesus shows three aspects of the relation : 1) Intimacy with Jesus, 2) Knowing Him more and 3) Hearing or being obedient to His word. Mary did this. She sat at the feet of Jesus and heard His word…We have invited Jesus into our lives, but do we sit with Him and obey His word? Why was Martha worried and troubled? The answer is in the verse 40 “But Martha was distracted with much serving” . It’s true that she welcomed Jesus into her house, but she was unfocused by many things. This made her worried and troubled. Today, most of the Christians are worried and troubled because they have lost the focus on Jesus. Instead of focusing Him, we are focusing the things which we think that they might please Him. Jesus wants a relationship with us. Jesus could not have a relation with the multitude who came and ate food and drank wine. He wants us to forsake everything and follow His steps. In those days, there was no developed communication system as we see today. So when Jesus came to their house, it was a surprise. Martha and Mary might not have been prepared in advance to serve Jesus . They might have been busy with their own stuff, but as soon as Jesus was in their house, one forsook everything and sat at the feet of Jesus, and the other one was distracted with many things, which lead her to trouble and worry.
Besides being troubled and worried, Martha complained about her sister. Would she ever complain, had she sat with Jesus? No! Always remember, if anyone complains and murmurs, he or she has not sat at the feet of Jesus. Because the one who sits at the feet of Jesus finds peace in the soul, mind and body…which gives no place for complaining and murmuring. Did Mary complain about her sister? Martha was worried and troubled, but Mary was content and satisfied. This is the change we see in us when we sit in the presence of God. The reason of your trouble and worry is not your sister and your family member, but it is you yourself.….Why are you wasting your time in complaing about your loved ones ? Choose to do what is needed. Sit at the feet of Jesus and you too will be blessed. Mary left all her cares and sat with Jesus…this is what God wants from us. Tax collector Zacchaeus took one day leave from his job and came to see who Jesus was. We take leave and go for picnic and rides, but do not bother to sit at His feet…There is no place in the world other than the feet of Jesus, where you will get forgiveness, peace, care, love and fullness of joy…
The woman who broke the alabaster jar she broke everything at the feet of Jesus…Why do you break your heart before your loved ones ? Come to the feet of Jesus and break your heart at His feet. Your loved ones cannot give you the answer. Jesus Christ is the answer to all your questions!
Martha was much interested in serving, but Mary was interested in knowing and loving Jesus. We must serve and love. Serving without loving is not true serving. When we go to a hotel and the waiter serves us with a lousy face, will we like to have something from there? No! we will feel uncomfortable, because he is not doing what is needed from him…We need him to serve with a smile on his face…This is what is happening with us. We are serving, but not according to His will. Without having a relation with Jesus, and hearing His word, whatever we do, is not true serving. We all know about the prodigal son but do we know his elder brother? He served his father, but had relationship with the friends of the world (Luke 15:29) He too was serving but not with a loving heart. His love was for his friends and so, he complained to his father about not giving a young goat to merry with his friends.
The intimacy with Jesus will grow only when we sit at His feet and hear and obey His word. Further, Jn. 12:2 says that they made him a supper, and Martha served. But Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. Mary did not stop choosing the good part. She continued loving Jesus. Martha served the Lord, Lazarus had communion with Him but Mary offered the worship with a grateful heart. And the house was filled with the fragrance of oil. A few days back, the house was filled with fear, cry and uncertainty because of the death of Lazarus, but now the house was filled with the fragrance of joy, peace and hope.
Let nothing distract us from sitting at the feet of Jesus and hearing His word. If we choose to do what is needed by our Lord, no one can take it away from us. Indeed, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ if we do what he requires from us and if we choose that good part!
Are you worried and troubled about many things? If so, make it a point today to throw away everything that is distracting you . Humble yourself and sit at His feet to hear His word .Good part is sitting at the feet of Jesus and hearing His word and the Father seeketh such.
God bless you