Scripture: Luke 10:38-42
Key verses: (41-42) But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Reflection: The Mary and Martha narrative is one that is familiar to many 21st century Christians. In a culture that prizes achievement and success, it’s easy for many of us to identify with the doers in the world. As usual, Jesus presents us with a different way of seeing things. We are told to praise Mary for the way she sits at the feet of Jesus. And we look at Martha, her busyness, her desire to do, and scold her for the ways that those acts take her out of relationship with God. This is one way of looking at this text, but it’s not the whole story. In order to get to the heart of this section of Luke, we must compare it to the section the comes before it. In the prior verses, we are told the parable of the good Samaritan, which ends with Jesus’ direction to go and do. It’s a call to action. Then we come to our verses for today, in which Jesus asks Martha to stop, he calls her to listen and reflect.
It’s important for us to hear these stories next to each other as a reminder that there are different ways to live out our faith. Sometimes following Jesus looks like going out and helping our neighbors; sometimes it looks like sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening. These calls don’t look the same for everyone but, if we are honest with ourselves, we all are called to both. As we continue to live into a socially distanced life, I wonder how we might find value in these two important aspects of our faith, to go and do and to sit at the feet of Christ. I invite you today to consider which one of these comes more naturally to you, doing or sitting? Which one should you do more in your daily life? How might you find balance between these two?
Prayer: God of all wonders, you know our hearts better than anyone. Help us to reorient our lives to find the balance that you call us to, through the power of Christ’s love. Amen.
Author: Savannah Demuynck
[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].