Scripture: Luke 10: 38-42
Key verse: (42a) “ . . . there is need of only one thing.”
Reflection: The role of women in the first century was limited to family life. They were considered property. A good woman knew her place. Her life didn’t include education or equality. She was to marry, have children and serve and submit to the men in her family. This story about Mary and Martha is just as startling as the parable of the Good Samaritan that precedes it. Women did not sit at the feet of a great teacher to learn. Martha was entirely within her right to complain about Mary’s behavior. Mary should have been in the kitchen preparing the meal alongside her sister. But, Jesus, as he often does, is showing a new way for women and men to be in the world. He is defying patriarchal models of behavior by letting Mary learn from him. He commends Mary for her choice. This choice reminds us that loving God is not a waste of time. Unfortunately, we often miss this point because we are too busy applying modern temperament studies to Mary and Martha. We label ourselves as either “Marys” or “Marthas” as if one label were better or worse than the other. It’s not about type. It’s not about how much we do or don’t do. It’s not about being busy or lazy. There are times to work and times to rest.
We all want to make the most of our time. Most of us have an endless list of things to do, but if spending time with God isn’t a priority, how can we say we love God? Some might say: I do things for God, and when I do, I am showing God’s love. True, except part of the equation is missing. We love our neighbor because we have spent time with God and experienced God’s love. Without this experience of the living God, who strengthens and sustains us, our efforts are just good deeds done in our own power. And when our power runs out, we burn out.
As one author has said: “The life of a disciple” requires us to “go and do” AND “sit and listen.” (NIB)
Where are you on your journey?
Prayer: Gracious God, help us to find balance between being and doing. When we get side-tracked, call us to return to you. Use us to spread your love through our devotion and our deeds. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].