Ascension Lutheran Church

Calgary, AB

Sixth Sunday After Pentecost

Luke 10:38-42

[38] Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. [39] She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. [40] But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” [41] But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; [42] there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

It’s interesting that Jesus’ words to Martha don’t focus so much on what or how much she is doing, but that she is worried and distracted. It’s not that she is busy, but that her various tasks have left her worried and distracted. She’s so wrapped up in trying to get stuff done (worried and anxious that she won’t), and being angry at her sister for not helping that she is missing out on the blessing of having Jesus in her home.

Jesus’ gently chides her, encouraging her to re-orient her priorities. It’s not wrong for her to want to be as hospitable as possible to the Lord—unless the hospitality gets in the way of her paying attention to him rather than everything else.

When Jesus entered the house, each woman made a decision on what to do. Martha’s choice left her worried and distracted. Mary’s choice to, sit at Jesus’ feet and listening to what he had to say left her at peace. Thus Jesus said Mary chose the better—the peace and teaching she received could not be taken from her. All of Martha’s work, was passing.

This passage reminds us there is a time and place for everything and that we are well served to reflect on how we are spending our time and energy. There is a reason, God instituted Sabbath and enshrined it in the 10 commandments. Giving His people permission to take one day a week for prayer, worship, rest, to allow Him to care for their souls. If we find ourselves “worried and distracted by many things” maybe we should take time to sit at Jesus’ feet and allow him to restore us.