“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” – Lk. 10:41-42 NIV
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Jesus Christ had earlier given guiding principles to his chosen seventy-two, on how to conduct themselves on their spiritual journey in the accomplishment of the task of harvesting souls into God’s kingdom. After he had sent the advanced party (Mk. 10:1), he himself embarked on his own journey with the same aim of harvesting souls and it was in the course of his apostolic journey that he arrived at a village where he was warmly welcomed by a woman named Martha and her sister Mary – Lk. 10:38. This was probably the first contact of Jesus with this family as it seemed he eventually met and became very close, not only to these two sisters alone but even their brother called Lazarus – Jn. 11:1-6; 38-44.
In their attempt to give Jesus Christ and his entourage a comfortable welcome, Martha spent time at the kitchen preparing all kinds of dishes befitting of such a dignitary whilst, probably engaged in a question and answer situation, Mary chose to listen to the teachings of Jesus Christ – Lk. 10:39. Probably out of being overwhelmed by the work involved in the preparation and the refusal of Mary to lend a helping hand, Martha sought the support of Jesus Christ in convincing Mary to join her in the task of preparation, wondering whether Jesus did not care about her being left to do the task all alone – Lk. 10:40. The response of Jesus Christ to this request of Martha is the foundation scripture for today’s devotion.
In the response of Jesus Christ;
1. He noted that Martha was worried and upset about too many things.
2. He made her realise that only one thing should be worried about and Mary had made that choice. No doubt, it should be about the salvation of her soul even though care for the body cannot be neglected.
3. Nothing can take that choice away from her once she has made it.
Many Christians today are in the position of Martha. They are worried about too many things when it comes to entertaining and showing their love for Jesus. In the process, they actually get upset that too many things are not going the way they want it and are busy picking up quarrels where unnecessary. Jesus Christ says that as much as he appreciates these set of people for their expression of love for him, there is the need for them to prioritize their choices when this love is to be expressed.
He will actually prefer that greater priority is placed on hearing what he has to say than any other activity being done as a sign of love for him. Mary chose to hear what the Lord had to say over any preparation been done to host him and Jesus said that can not be taken from her. This is because it is in the hearing of the Word and meditating in it that lives are changed for better. That is what secures the soul of the Christian as that is what helps to salvage the soul. The Bible says that it is those who hear and accept the Word that are baptised and saved (Mk. 16:15-18) just as it is the hearing of the Word that produces Faith – Rom. 10:17.
There are actually many Christians today who are interested in giving the best to Jesus Christ in terms of service but are not making the right choices. They are very active in the church physically and financially but have little or no time for the Word that can ensure their spiritual growth and development. Just as Christ is not saying that preparing food which is the choice that Martha made, is wrong, similarly the efforts people like this, put into making the house of the Lord very comfortable, the financial support they give to progress the work of God and all such activities are very positive actions that should be commended, but should not be done at the expense of feeding their soul with the Word of Truth, which is achieved by hearing and meditating on the those words.
Many today hardly have time to listen to word ministrations, more so regularly reading and meditating on the Word of God, because they are busy with some other administrative functions or roles in the Church. They are working very hard in other areas of the church in their belief that they are glorifying God. Jesus Christ says they need to prioritize the hearing and meditating in the Word over every other activity in the Church. This is because the saved soul is the one that can enjoy the reward of works done in eternity. Good works done by someone who is not saved is like sending his/her luggage to a destination where he/she is not going. Only spiritual growth through hearing and meditating on the Word can help keep one on the path to the kingdom of heaven, which is where eternity will be spent. Works will then ensure how eternity is spent.
Worrying about how the Sunday service or church program will be successful in terms of arrangement will not be as positive as worrying about how you will hear and get filled with the Word of salvation. If your intention is really to make Jesus Christ very much welcomed and comfortable, then choose right by prioritising the hearing of the Word. May God guide you as you make your choice in Jesus name. Amen.